Who was Beelzebub?

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In the NT, Beelzebub is identified as the prince of demons (Matt. 10:25; 12:24; Mark 3:22; Luke 11:15, 18, 19). The majority of the NT Greek manuscripts have the form Beelzeboul, meaning “the lord Zebul.” Several Ras Shamrah tables from about 1400 B.C. speak of “Zebul, prince of the earth.” Beelzebul may thus mean “Baal is prince.” It has been suggested that the Jews may have changed the name from Beelzebul to Beelzebub, “lord of flies,” out of contempt for this pagan deity, the patron god of Ekron (2 Kings 1:2).

This word was mentioned by the Pharisees in the incident when Jesus healed he blind and dumb demoniac. “Then one was brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and He healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw. And all the multitudes were amazed and said, “Could this be the Son of David?” Now when the Pharisees heard it they said, “This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons” (Matthew 12:22-24).

In this miracle, it was evident that more than human power was present. But the Pharisees refused to acknowledge that Jesus was divine and possessed power to perform the miracle. They declared that He did this miracle by the power of the devil.

But Jesus answered them saying, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation… If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out?…. But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you” (v. 25-28).

Jesus revealed absurdity of their claim (vs. 25, 26) and He faced them with a dilemma to which they could give no answer (v. 27). He showed that what they have attributed to Satan is in reality the power of God.

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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