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Mastema - Jubilees

Mastema – The ‘Persecutor’ of God


Christian texts are full of controversies regarding actions of God which could be perceived as harsh, or even revengeful.  These controversies are also extended to other Biblical figures/beings, for example, the angel called ‘Mastema’. In Hebrew the word ‘mastemah’ means ‘hatred’ and ‘hostility’. Another translation suggests that the name comes from the word ‘Mastim’, which is the Hiphil participle of ‘Satam’ and it means ‘one who is adverse’. According to the book of Jubilees, Mastema was the chief of the spirits and very similar to what Christianity today promotes as ‘Satan’. Yet Mastema was under Gods’ commands, fulfilling his orders.

God in general is portrayed as having human-like behaviour showing not only love and affection but also aggression, revenge and even jealously. Some have argued that Gods characteristics could be said to match the profile of a dictator, especially when considering some of the accounts that are present in the Old Testament:

Behold, Abraham loveth Isaac his son, and he delighteth in him above all things else; bid him offer him as a burnt-offering on the altar, and Thou wilt see if he will do this command, and Thou wilt know if he is faithful in everything wherein Thou dost try him.- Book of Jubilee 16.16

A dictator wants his people to worship him and at the same time fear him; usually he shows his strength through acts of power in order to increase the fear and at the same time the belief in him. He will be aggressive to his competitors and most of the times he would either eliminate them or demonize them in the eyes of his followers. At the same time he will show affection and protect his country.

According to the book of Jubilees, ‘Prince’ Mastema was the one that suggested to God to test Abraham’s loyalty by asking him to offer Isaac to the altar. And according to the Old Testament, God listened to Mastema and did as he suggested.

Later on in the book of Jubilees, Mastema asks God to allow some of the spirits to stay with him so he could command them and help him to fulfil God’s commands. God again accepted his proposal and allowed him to keep one tenth of the spirits while the rest were condemned.

Lord, Creator, let some of them remain before me, and let them hearken to my voice, and do all that I shall say unto them; for if some of them are not left to me, I shall not be able to execute the power of my will on the sons of men; for these are for corruption and leading astray before my judgment, for great is the wickedness of the sons of men. - Book of Jubilees, 10.8

Continuing in the book of the Jubilees, Mastema helps the Pharaohs and the Egyptian sorcerers to stand up against Moses in Egypt.

And the prince of the Mastêmâ 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. Book of Jubilees, 48.9

And at the same time it looks that he was the one that executed the plagues of God.

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 Mastêmâ had been let loose to slay all the first-born in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh to the first-born of the captive maidservant in the mill, and to the cattle.Book of Jubilees, 49.2

It is clear that Mastema, or ‘Satan’ in modern Christianity, is not exactly an enemy of God, but rather a ‘prince’ of God that is responsible for punishing and bringing destruction to all of those that do not obey God and at the same time he is used to fulfil God’s plans. Mastema is for God what the army is for a Dictator. However, it seems that the perception of his role has been twisted to be an enemy of God, in order to be more compatible with the image of an all-loving God. The story of Mastema is another story that portrays an inconvenient reality that mainstream religion finds difficult to explain.

By John Black

Related Links

Book of Jubilees

Mastema in the Book of Jubilees

The Prince Mastema




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Right. You missed the fact that God allows punishment for rebellion and disobedience to his laws just like we do. Yes he tests is. Wouldn't you do the same after being betraid buy mastema when he had the most favor from you, being made by you having all that glory made in him and he turns on you? How would you feel if you child desperately wanted yo take over your life and kill you? He can't kill God but God can use him till his end time comes. Its all in Gods will for the good even though bad comes by others doings not his.

Nice point, Namrednop!
I'm finding this book to be very handy in understanding many of the conundrums presented by the old testament as well.
The order of creation listed gives a much more indepth view of subjects like the orders of spiritual beings which serve God in the heavens, and why several different types are mentioned in the prophetic books like Ezekiel.
It's a bit hard to fit one's head around since it follows the jubilee calendar and phonetic spellings of the original hebrew names, but it's strong stuff!
Have you found any conflicts yet between the records in Jubilees with the records in the Book of Enoch and Book of the Righteous (Jasher)?

I just wanted you to know that I completely, 100% agree with everything you stated here! And as a side note, I've studied the Book of Jubilees for several years now, so I've become quite familar with this book. And no one in this posting even mentioned that it was Noah that had been given the power by the Creator to cast all of the fallen angels (including Satan/Mastema) into the bottomless pit. And when Satan/Mastema found this out he pleaded with the Creator to allow him and some of his followers to not be cast into the bottomless pit, simple because THEN the Creator would not have anyone to do HIS bidding for HIM, as stated by Satan/Mastema. In other words, the Creator stated in HIS Holy Word that HE'D never temp anyone (Human) and that's true to a degree, as HE has Satan/Mastema and the fallen angels to do that for him. So Noah cast 90% of the fallen angels into the bottomless pit. They will soon be released when the Great Tribulation starts, which is halfway through the tribulation period. How will we know when the tribulation starts? When the 7 yr Peace Treaty is signed with Isreal that'll mark the true beginning. And when Satan/Mastema stands in the rebuilt temple that he's going to have rebuilt for himself (not for worshipping the true Creator as many believe) and states that he "IS GOD", then that'll mark the beginning of Great Tribulation period which will last for the remaining 3.5 yrs. And fear no one, as I can see that you don't by stating the truth as you did! And know this too ... the so-called "Rapture" (if you want to call it that - the '"Catching Away") will not take place until the end of the 3.5 yrs of Great Tribulation. As stated in the Book of Matthew 13: 24-30 7 in Revelation 14:14-20. The modern day, so-called 'church' is so deceived concerning this event. And when the day comes, all those that are not firmly planted in CHRIST (i.e. truly saved) will be deceived by this coming Great Deception, and they'll also take the "Mark of the Beast" thinking this is the ONLY choice they have to keep themselves alive, to save themselves. But in doing so, thinking they are saving themselves, they've doomed themselves to an Eternal Lake of Fire! Selah - Peace In Christ .......

MIII.Knight's picture

I know this post is old but I hope this finds those who are seeking.

My initial readings of the book of Jubilees had me begin researching who this Mastema character was, whereby I came accross this post.  At first glance, the author brings up this conundrum of God’s relationship to Mastema, and concluded with the following “Yet Mastema was under Gods’ commands, fulfilling his orders”

This is false.  

The 1/10th remaining demons was not by God, it was by Mastema’s request.

The origination of the testing of Abraham was not by God, it was by Mastema’s request.

These are very important distinctions to make.  God simply allows it, they are not his commands. The reason he allows it is because in the end, HE will be glorified.  The example given right in Jubliees is that ‘Mastema was put to shame’ when Abraham passed.

God is not a dictator in the least.  If he were we would have ZERO say.  The fact we have choice and free will is proof enough (and no I will not entertain silly nonsense saying otherwise). So by definition, he allows people to follow their hearts desire, even unto darkness. And part of allowing people to follow their evil desires, it to allow Mastema the tools (1/10th of the demons) to do so. Make no mistake, Satan is the enemy of God and of ALL people.

I suggest a deeper contemplation before such careless ideas are thrown around.



johnblack's picture

John Black

Dr John (Ioannis) Syrigos initially began writing on Ancient Origins under the pen name John Black. He is both a co-owner and co-founder of Ancient Origins.

John is a computer & electrical engineer with a PhD in Artificial Intelligence, a... Read More

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