Beelzebub means “lord of the flies.” In Hebrew and Jewish literature, the name is translated to mean “lord of dung” or “lord of filth.” Images of Beelzebub portray him as a fly or flying insect. Scholars have learned that the image of the fly as Beelzebub derives from either the thought that he is a sun god that brings the flies, or he is the god invoked to drive flies away from the sacrifice.
We should also note that Beelzebub is the Greek form of the word Baal-zebub. There are strong connections to Baal worship in conjunction with the worship of Beelzebub. Baal was a Canaanite fertility god in the Old Testament. The term zebub means “exalted dwelling.” When we put those two terms together, we have the name prince of demons.
In Matthew 12:22 Jesus healed a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute. As a result, “all the people were astonished and said, ‘Could this be the Son of David?’ But when the Pharisees heard this, they denied that this could be a work of God, but instead declared: ‘It is only by Beelzebub, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons’” (Matthew 12:23-24).
It is remarkable that the Pharisees reacted to this incredible miracle by Jesus in the very opposite way of that of the multitude, who realized that Jesus was from God. In fact, it was an admission by the Pharisees that Jesus worked miracles or performed deeds beyond the reach of any unaided human power, but they attributed this power to Beelzebub instead of God. Actually, they should have known better: the devil cannot do works of pure goodness. However, in their self-absorbed pride, these Pharisees knew that, if the teachings of Jesus should prevail among the people, their influence over them was at an end. So, the miracle they did not deny, but instead attributed it to an infernal power, “Beelzebub the prince of the demons.”
Beelzebub was believed to be someone that could perform exorcisms. This deity had control of all the devilish behavior in the world. It could even possess people itself. Today, we lean toward the thought that Beelzebub is another name for Satan and has all the powers of Satan.
The name Beelzebub is just one of the many names for Satan. It is the name of the one that delivers mayhem to the world we live in. Christians should be aware of this name, but not worry about Satan’s power. Satan will always be working to separate humanity from the God that created it. Our focus should be on the fact that our God is victorious and as His children, we are safe from Beelzebub’s efforts to separate us from God.