MASTEMA IS MENTIONED ONLY IN THE BOOK OF JUBILEES AND IN THE FRAGMENTS OF A ZADOKITE WORK

Posted: 08/04/2013 by whocantopit in Bible Lessons

         In the Book of Jubilees, Mastema seems to be identified with Satan.  He asked the Lord that some of the Spirits might be allowed to remain with him to do his will.  God granted his request and allowed one thenth of the spirits to remain with Mastema, while the other nine parts would be condemned.

                        “When Mastema, the leader of the spirits, came, he said:  ‘Lord creator, leave some of them before me;  let them listen to me and do everything that I tell them, because if none of them is left for me I shall not be able to exercise the authority of my will mankind.  For they are meant for (the purposes of) destroying and misleading before my punishment because the evil of mankind is great.’  Then he said that a tenth of them should be left before him, while he would make nine parts descend to the place of judfment.”

The name Mastema is derived from the Hebrew, “Mastim”, the Hiphil participle of “Satam”, and it means ‘one who is adverse’ or ‘inimical.’  The word is equivalent to Satan (adversary).  The term is also used in the plural, which indicates there is a class of ‘the Mastema’ as well as one prince, Mastema.  This is similar to the chief Satan and his class of Satans (see 1 Enoch 40:7).

Jubilees implies that Mastema is subservient to God.  His task is simply to tempt men to sin and if they do, he accuses them before the Throne of God.  He does not initiate the process of sin, but Mastema and his spirits then lead them on to greater wrongdoing.  This is related to the Biblical function of Satan, where men can achieve righteousness if they are tempted and resist.

“And they made for themselves molten images, and they worshipped each the idol, the molten image which they had made for themselves, and they began to make graven images and nclean simulacra, and malignant spirits assisted and seduced (them) into committing transgression and uncleanness.  And the prince Mastema exerted himself  to do all this, and he sent forth other spirits, those which were put under his hand, to do all manner of wrong and sin, and all manner of transgression, to corrupt and destroy and to shed blood upon the earth.  For this reason he called the name of Seroh, Serug, for every one turned to do all manner of sin and transgression. –Jubilees 11:4-6

This portrayal of Mastema is also presented as the incarnate of evil.  He is seen as a destroyer and as one who hates Israel.  According to Jubilees, it was Mastema (not Sammael) who urged God to test the piety of Abraham (as Satan did with Job) by demanding Isaac as a sacrifice.  “Then Prince Masstema came and said before God:  ‘”Abraham does indeed love his son Isaac and finds him more pleasing then anyone else.  Tell him to offer him as a sacrifice on an altar.  Then you will see whether he performs this order and will know whether he is faithful in everything through which you test him.’”-Jubilees 17:16

Mastema and Moses

Mastema is also attributed with certain actions that are ascribed to God, Himself.  In Jubilees, it is Mastema who made an attack on Moses’ life, not God (Exodus 4:24).  This is similar 1 Chronicles 21:1 and 2 Samuel 24:1 where Satan is attributed to asking David to take a census, as opposed to God.

“You know who spoke to yo at Mt. Sinai and what the prince of Mastema wanted to do to you while you were returning to Egypt – on the way to the shady fir tree.  Did he not wish with all his strength to kill you and to save the Egyptians from your power because he saw that you were sent to carry out punishment the Egyptians?” – Jubilees 48:2-3

Mastema is also attributed with opposing Moses in Egypt.  He is said to have helped the Egyptian sorcerers achieve their wonders and urged the Egyptians to pursue after the children of Israel.  Mastema was even bound and imprisoned so that he might not accuse them, re-released so that he night help the Egyptians, and finally bound again, (48:15-19)

“And the prince Mastema stood up against thee, and sought to cast thee into the hands of Pharaoh, and he helped the Egyptian sorcerers, and they stood up and wrought before thee the evils indeed we permitted them to work, but the remedies we did not all to be wrought by their hands.” – Jubilees 48:9-10

“And notwithstanding all (these) signs and wonders the prince Mastema was not put to shame because he took courage and cried to the Egyptians to pursue after thee with all the powers of the Egyptians, with their chariots, and with their horses, and with all the hosts of the peoples of Egypt.” – Jubilees 48:12

Also Mastema is attributed with slaying the first – born in the land of Egypt, which is attributed to the Lord in Exodus 12:29.

“For on this night –the beginning of the festival and the beginning of the joy- ye were eating the passover in Egypt, when all the powers of Mastema had been let loose to slay all the first – born in the land of Egypt, from the first – born of Pharaoh to the first – born of the captive maid – servant in the mill, and to the cattle.” –Jubilees 49:2

Belieal in the Dead Sea Scrolls:  Belieal (or Beliaal) is Hebrew for “without value.”  He is known as Beliar in Greek.  Among certain sections of the Jews, this demon was considered the chief of all the devils.  In The War of the Sons of Llight and the Sons of Darkness, one of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Belial is the leader of the Sons of Darkness:  ‘But for corruption thou hast made Belial, an angel of hostility.  All his dominions are in darkness, and his purpose is to bring about wichedness and guilt.  All the spirits that are associated with him are but angels of destruction.  ‘Belieal is also mentioned in the Fragments of a Zadokite Work (which is also know as The Damascus Document, which states that at the time of the Antichrist, “Belial shall be let loose against Israel, as God spake through Isaiah the prophet.: (6:9).  The fragments also speak of “three nets of Belial” which are said to be fornication, wealth, and polution of the sanctuary.  (6:10-11) In this work, Belial is sometimes presented as an agent of divine punisment and sometimes as a rebel, as Mastema is.  It was Belial who inspired the Egyptain sorcerers, Jochaneh and his brother, to oppose Moses and Aaron.  The Fragments also say that anyone who is rules by the spirits of Belial and speaks of rebellion shold be condemned as a necromancer and wizard.

            Belial is also mentioned in the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs.  The author of the work seems to be a dualist because he presents Belial os God’s opponent, not as a servant, but does not mention how or why this came to be.  Simeon 5:3 says that fornication separates man from God and brings him near to Beliar.  (Levi 19:1) It also states that when the soul is constantly disturbed, the Lord departs from it and Beliar rules over it.  Naphtali (2:6, 3:1) contrasts the Law and will of God with the purposes of Beliar.  Also, in 20:2, Joseph prophesies that when Israel leaves Egypt, they wil be with God in light while Beliar will remain in darkness with the Egyptians.  Finally, the Testament describes that when the Nessiah comes, the angels will punish the spirits of deceit and Beliar (3:3) and that the Messiah will bind Beliear and give to his children the power to trample the evil spirits (18:12).

            In The Martyrdom of Isaiah, Belial is the angel of lawlessness and is the ruler of this world.  “And Manesseh turned aside his heart to serve Beliar; for the angel of lawlessness, who is the ruler of this world, is Beliar, whose name is Matanbuchus.” –Martyrdom of Isaiah 2:4

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