Review the narrative of Joseph in Genesis 37-50. You’ll recall a major figure named Potiphar, Pharaoh’s jailer. Notice the position he holds in the Egyptian imperial administration. This is a critical element in Ancient Near Eastern (ANE) feudalism. The point at which a local clan chief becomes important is when his domain is big enough to justify designating someone as his jailer. It’s quite likely Abraham had someone in his household who served in this noble position. Among his three most powerful noble allies, one was always the jailer.
Scripture depicts Satan as God’s jailer in that sense. Not in line for the throne, he is certainly one of three most powerful angelic beings (so-called “archangels”). He receives from his Master prisoners he can use as slaves in his own limited feudal domain. He is expected to keep up this duty by taking profit from the labor of his captives. While we can’t possibly imagine how Satan profits from it, we know his mission is to deprive us of our divine heritage of shalom. It isn’t just punishment for sin, but enslavement to the false impulses of sin.
This is radically different from the Western image of the Devil. The Western view is the net result of mixed influences, but is rooted largely in ancient Germanic mythology. In broad general terms, he is pictured as the mischievous younger brother of the favored heir in the pantheon of pagan deities. The rules are shadowy and can’t be trusted to keep him place, and he often asserts some form of equal claim to divine authority, hindering his favored elder brother from ever quite accomplishing much. Perhaps somewhere down the road it will break out into full civil war and only when the father figure gets off his lead ass and takes final action will this be over.
The latter paganized image is the foundation of Western Christian beliefs about the Devil. Even when Western Christian teaching cites Scripture for doctrine, the underlying assumptions always seem to conform with this latter viewpoint. Thus, there remains a broad and instinctive deception about how the Devil does things, which serves to keep people in his grasp.
In Radix Fidem we make much of personifying the Devil as he really is. He’s not some malevolent impersonal force, as we see behind all the horror movies, but a very distinct personality we can learn to recognize, and we can learn how to spot his deceptions so as to avoid falling under his dominion. This whole business of the Fall is summed up in accepting his lie about whether we can trust our human reason to discern good and evil. In essence, the Forbidden Fruit is usurping the heart with intellect in the human soul. God speaks directly through the heart; human reason unbound will contradict the voice of God. The human reason instinctively pulls away from personification of moral forces.
So in our teaching, the drama of human affairs on the earth includes a major figure guiding much of the action, but most of humanity appears utterly blind to his presence and unable to assess his influence.
Thus, in my paper on The Cult [PDF], I reassert the Devil and his demons as distinct personal influences keeping alive a conspiracy of dehumanizing tyranny. It does not require a witting conspiracy of individual human persons, only that we understand how demons use them. It’s not necessary to allege that there are people who consciously join a covenant of evil, but we can characterize this thing as a cult run by demons, holding in thrall a number of people who will act the same as if they did. It’s not so much about the people as the influence of demonic beings.
The pertinent point here is that Satan is now the god of the Jews. Not that they knowingly worship Satan, but they certainly aren’t worshiping the one true God of the Bible. Unless they bow the knee to Christ, their religion is one huge lie. They long ago traded the mystical Covenant of Moses for a cerebral legalism that makes a deity of their reason. Meanwhile, in truth the Covenant of Moses was subsumed under the Covenant of Christ. The Jewish religion is a captive of Satan.
And characteristic of this captivity is a high degree of savvy about certain limited aspects of human nature. Their original purpose and calling under the Covenant has been perverted in something truly sinister. Granted, not everyone involved in Jewish religion is like that. Rather, the influence of the religion over people who cling to it so tightly produces a cadre of willing Satanic servants who can be characterized as The Cult. Judaism is not The Cult; Judaism is the mask behind which this cult hides.
Wherever you find the Cult at work, you will always find a few Jewish folks playing key roles, regardless of how conscious they are of their role.