Beelzebub, the Great Goat, King of Hell, Lord of the Flies, Lucifer, Overlord of Hell, etc.

The word 'Satan' derives from the Hebrew verb "satan" (root word s'tn) which means 'to oppose'. The term was used to refer to any person who acted as an enemy or an accuser. English versions of the Bible often translate satan as adversary, opponent, and so on. Satan is also used in the Hebrew Scriptures to refer to a celestial being: either as a type of a district attorney in a heavenly court, or as a messenger/trouble shooter of God.

Satan is not described as an all-evil supernatural being who opposes God and roams the earth with hordes of demons, seeking to destroy humans. He is rather depicted as a servant of God. When major destruction of life is to be accomplished, as in great plagues, the Noahic flood, or destruction of cities, God Himself is described as the perpetrator.

Most angels are God's messengers and therefor always good. But one single angel are the opposite - Satan. Satan's a fallen angel, in other words an angel who did not obey God. Today Satan represent all evil in the world. It is he who always tries to put people in danger, and his actions always crash with the good angels'. In Islam this creature have two names: Shaitan and Iblis. Here too, he is told to always lead people away from God.

He is one of the few beings who walks both underground and above ground. Those who are justifiably terrified of his powers depict him as a repulsive creature of goat-like aspect, but this is probably incorrect. As Lucifer the Bringer of Light he was a strong and handsome angel before he was dismissed from heaven for the sin of pride, and obliged to seize domination over hell. It seems likely that he retains his original saturnine good looks and that the hooves, tail and horns with which he is credited are nothing but superstitious inventions.

Those to whom he has appeared during recent years, to make extremely tempting offers for thier souls, describe him as having the appearance of a well-dressed businessman. He has large dark eyes, a swarthy complexion, a neatly trimmed black moustache and beard, and shapely well-manicured hands. The only unusual features are his sharply pointed ears and his need for a good deoderant to mask the faint but unmistakeable odour of corruption.

He carries a briefcase made from an attractively smooth leather, which seems to vary in colour from the pinkish tones of Nordic skin to the deep ebony of an equatiorial male. Its zipper of pure gold opens silently when he extracts the soul-transfer documents for signature, and in a deep seductive voice he promises every kind of earthly power and delight in exchange for one's soul. He is a fact a supreme salesman and it is very difficult to resist his apparently easy terms.

He has always kept up with fashion throughout the ages. In the time of the early Christians he wore sandals, a linen tunic, and a cloak of purple samite. In mediaeval days he wore a tight-fitting jerking and hose of scarlet velvet, with a cap and hood of the same material and a flowing cape of midnight gaberdine. Nowadays he attires himself in an exquisitely tailored suit of plum-coloured Italian silk, with Gucci loafers on his slender feet. As a businessman he is never short to capital to back up his seemingly extravagant promises. He administers an international consortium in which the arms and drug industries occupy only two of many departments.

Those who have enjoyed a friendly business discussion and a few drinks with Satan, in the most expensive suite of a fashionable city hotel, always find it difficult to believe he will really demand their souls. When at last they are led through the Gates of Hell the still think their old business friend will see reason and - perhaps after a few jovial threats and warnings - release them to enjoy eternity in the style to which they have become accustomed to earth.

But then they are dragged before Satan in his true manifestation as the King of Hell, and they discover that he is very different from their suave old friend.