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Belial



Belial lacks concern among many biblical scholars; however he sheds much influence in works concerning biblical tradition including the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs. This principle body of work, numbered among the apocryphal (hidden) scriptures, often studied in conjunction with the Old Testament, contains the final words and commands of the twelve sons of Jacob, father of the nation of Israel. Within this literature Belial, styled Beliar by the Hellenized Jewish author of the Testaments, is specifically depicted as the adversary of God. Beliar is characterized as having the predominant attribute of Satan, that of tempter, and he tempted the children of Israel. In the Ascension of Isaiah, another apocryphal text, Belial becomes Beliar and Matan-buchus, an angel of lawlessness and the true ruler of the earthly world.

One also sees Belial in the renowned Dead Sea Scrolls text 1QM, War of the Sons of Light and the Sons of Darkness," described as an "angel of darkness." He exists in his dark dominion to bring wickedness and guilt to the sons of man. In this cosmic war Belial is depicted as the leader of the Sons of Darkness, angels of destruction. Appearing in another fragment of the Qumran, Testament of Amram, Belial is similarly depicted as leader of the armies of the Sons of Darkness vigorously opposing the angel Michael, leader of the armies of the Sons of Light. Here Belial is described as possessing a dark and frightful countenance, and a "visage like a viper." His titles are the King of Evil and the Prince of Darkness.

In the Goetia Belial is the sixty-eighth demon, ranked as the king of demons and second only to Lucifer. He grants his supplicants offices and other distinctions, also bringing favor to the magickan from friends and foes. He speaks with a comely voice appearing in form of not one but two beautiful angels standing in a chariot of fire.

Belial appears in other works including Dr. Rudd's Treatise on Angel Magic. In a traditional demonic hierarchy Charles Berbiguier lists Belial as Hell's ambassador to Turkey. In the widespread fifteenth-century European morality tale recorded in Buche de Belial by Jacobus de Teramos Belial was popular when depicted as the tempter of mankind, and this tale may have inspired the Faust legend.

In Wierus' Pseudomonarchia Daemonus the demon is listed as Beliall. Together with Bilieth and Asmoday he is listed as one of the top three ranking demons among the seventy-two infernal kings entrapped by King Solomon in the vessel of brass. Also in this text he is described as the father and seducer of all the angels that fell. Having a deceitful nature he will only tell the truth when commanded to under the threat of divine names. The Pseudomonarchia described him as manifesting as a single beautiful angel standing in a chariot of fire. He also can appear in the form of an exorcist in the bonds of spirits. Belial commands eight legions of spirits, some from the Order of Virtues and some from the Order of Angels. He provides excellent familiars. According to the Goetia of Dr. Rudd, Belial can be constrained by the angel Habujah and belongs to the same angelic order as Lucifer.

Belial (Hebrew BLIAL, "without God" and "worthlessness") was a major demon in both Hebrew and Christian demonologies, and in Kabbalist demonology assigned to Ain Soph, the second of the Three Veils of the Unmanifest. According to the Lemegeton, he reigns as king among demons, commands fifty legions, and appears as two angels having beautiful voices, sitting in a chariot of fire. He has the power to give excellent familiars.

The term also is used to describe people who act in a worthless manner. In post-Biblical literature it becomes a name for the Prince of Evil. He is the Spirit of darkness who opposes God's will; he dominates people, and the world is his kingdom. According to the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, he will be chained by the Holy Spirit of God and will ultimately be defeated by God's armies. Many scholars believe the concept of Belial being God's opponent was somewhat barrowed from Persian dualism. (See Zoroastrianism)

The occultist S. L. Mathers in his 1898 translation of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage, Leviathan is ranked as one of the four principle demons beside Lucifer, Satan, and Bileth. A.G.H.


Sources:

Belanger, Michelle. The Dictionary of Demon: Names of the Damneds. Llewellen Publications. 2010. ebook. Bowker, John, The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, New York, Oxford University Press, 1997, p. 134 Greer, John Michael. The New Encyclopedia of the Occult. St. Paul. MN. Llewellyn Worldwide. 2005. p. 62