Dr. Luginbill, I really enjoy your web site and have learned so much
from you! I am currently reading about the Satanic Rebellion, and I have
a few questions:
1- If Adam (man) had not yet been created how did Satan know that he wanted a body (your premise for the central plank of Satan's appeal to the other fallen angels) to give the angelic spirits sensual expression?
2-If the original Eden was here on earth how did Satan get thrown out of Heaven (my understanding for years in the church that he and his followers were cast out of Heaven). If this were the primordial Eden then where did God and all the angels who did not rebel go?
3-How could Satan have created the dinosaurs and other species during that period of time (eons of time) How could he have the power the create anything and if everywhere was dark how did the fauna and other plants etc grow?
One more question. Do you ever have classes on the Bible at the University where you teach? I
would love to come to one.
P.S. I shared the copies of the Satanic Rebellion with friends at work.
In His name.
Thanks for your encouraging comments. To take your last question first,
I have my plate full here teaching Greek and Latin, although we did just
add an upper division New Testament class which will be mine (Greek NT,
that is). So the requirements of my program don't leave me much time for
anything but Greek and Latin courses (although there are other things I
would love to teach, especially Hebrew). In a way, I am happy not to be
teaching the Bible as part of my secular job. I have been blessed to be
able to keep my tent-making and my ministry separate, and that has had
As to your other three questions:
1) on bodies: My thesis is that Satan wanted power and used the desire on behalf of other angels for corporeality and sensual expression as a platform to seduce the one third of angelic kind who followed him in rebellion from God. There was flora and fauna on the original earth (explaining the fossil record). We know from Luke 8:30-33, for example, that demons can posses non-human bodies, and I have posited that this behavior dates back to the period of rebellion. Therefore the distinction between corporeal and non-corporeal beings existed independently of the creation of mankind, and, as I suggest, was likely a point of great interest to the angels even then (and so a means of temptation exploited by the devil).
2) on being cast out of heaven: Job chapters 1 and 2 demonstrate clearly enough that Satan still has some measure of access to the third heaven. He and his followers will be cast down to earth, but not until the middle of the Tribulation, that is, at the start of its second half, the Great Tribulation (Rev.12:7-13). Our Lord anticipates this future event in Luke 10:18 ("I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning"). The other passage relating to this, the one that Milton made much of in Paradise Lost, is Isaiah 14:12, "How you have fallen from heaven O morning star (i.e., "Lucifer"), son of the dawn!". But Isaiah chapter 14, the lament on the king of Babylon, is a prophecy which must be interpreted according to the canons of prophetic interpretation. I don't want to get too technical here (the issue is discussed at length at this link: part 1 of Coming Tribulation, section IV.1, "Hermeneutic Issues"). To make a long story short, Old Testament writers – and Isaiah in particular – were led to prophesy about near term events in ways which also had far term application. Secular scholars usually want to apply Isaiah 14 to historical events (seeing Isaiah as looking backward at the past); some Christian interpreters who have trouble with idea of prophecy want to apply these verses forward, but to a historical king of Babylon; most who really do believe the Bible understand that this chapter, while it did have a near term application to the destruction of historical Babylon, is also concerned with eschatology, that is, with the "Day of the Lord", far future in Isaiah's day. By linking and comparing near events with the dramatic things to come, God made it clear to His people that all the upheavals of history are part of His plan and well under His control. Historical Babylon and Eschatological Babylon can thus be used to illuminate each other, explaining their role in God's plan and their certain destruction for opposing Him and His people. Satan was indeed expelled from the original Eden as we see in Ezekiel chapter 28 (a similar sort of prophecy), but as with Isaiah 14, the execution of judgment against the devil has yet to be carried out (cf. Job 1&2; Matt.25:41; Rev.20:1-3; 20:7-10).
3) on dinosaurs et al.: What I have suggested is that Satan's conspiracy took time and that God did not "nip it in the bud" immediately as He could have done (obviously, since He knew everything before He created anything). My supposition is that Satan and his followers began manipulating the fauna of the original earth, the original Eden. This no doubt did happen over great lengths of time, but there is no way to be much more specific. After enough time had passed to demonstrate 1) that the choice of those following the devil was irreversible, and that 2) no more angels would ever throw in their lot with Satan, only then did God level judgment on the original earth, blacking out the universe and bringing an end to all the corporeal life existing at that time. I would not call this genetic manipulation "creation". We know that the fallen angels do have some abilities in this regard as evidenced by their siring of the "Nephilim" (see the link in Satanic Rebellion part 5, "Satan's antediluvian attack upon the human race"), but I would hardly call it creative. I reserve the word creation for ex nihilo acts of which God alone is capable. Even human beings can, with the aid of technology, do some remarkable manipulation of material (both inert and biological), and it only stands to reason that angels, specifically fallen ones, would be even more capable of such activities.
Thanks again for your interest and encouragement.
In our dear Lord Jesus Christ,
Question #2: Dear Dr. Luginbill, I have a question on Angels. On page 2 of Angelology you say that angels exist in time and space. My question is, are angels subject to time? I thought time was a way to measure decay. Weren't angels created before decay set in? And if so, aren't they outside of time? Thanks for you writings. I am learning so much.
Yours in Christ,
Well I certainly agree with your premise, namely, that angels are not
subject to decay. Then again, would Man have been subject to decay if we
were all without sin and still in Eden? It is our bodies that decay,
after all (not our spirits), and they decay because they are infected
with a sin nature. When we are resurrected, our new bodies will never
again be subject to decay.
Angels are spirit beings – they do not have the same materiality that we do (i.e., they lack “corporeality”). I have posited based upon scripture that the devil made this lack of corporeality (and sensuality) a large part of his pitch in suborning a third of angelic kind to follow him (see the link: in SR #1, "Satan's Revolutionary Platform"). When he and his followers fell, there was no material body to be infected as was the case with Adam and Eve (and by procreation, all of their progeny), which might then have begun a process of decay.
Nevertheless, the devil is indeed running out of time, and when he is thrown to earth at the Tribulation's mid-point, his wrath will peak because he "knows he only has a short time left" (Rev.12:12). Throughout human history, we see the devil and his demons functioning according to the march of time as we understand it, even though it is true that for them it means something different than it does for you and me – how could it not, for creatures who have been around longer than Adam and Eve, and who are never going to experience the death of their physical bodies?
So I suppose we are just defining things a bit differently, you and I. As finite creatures with a finite understanding of the universe, we are necessarily limited in the way we can even express these things. In my understanding of the issue, anything that has finite existence (and angels are certainly finite), can only exist within space-time, that is, the universe or "world" as God originally created it in Genesis 1:1. The angels do not, it is true, change in any substantial way (at least since the "revolt" of Satan and his angels), and that is part and parcel of the reason why their response to the issue of free will is so different from that of human beings. Since they cannot know pain or privation, are unaffected by material circumstances, and have a knowledge (if not always a wisdom) far beyond our capacity to appreciate, their decision for or against God was a once and for all thing (whereas human beings may vacillate quite a bit before making a final decision to accept or reject Jesus Christ and His work on the cross).
In many ways, angels are "timeless" viewed from the standpoint of the way they behave and function in God's universe, but they are still of the "world", delimited by the boundaries of time and space, since the only thing that can exist "outside" of time and space (whatever that might even mean) is God Himself who existed before He created time and space (see the link: in BB #1, Theology, "The Infinity of God").
In our timeless Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
What exactly does the golden bowls with the prayers of God's people mean in verse 8? Reading further it refers to the seventh seal. Does that refer to the end times?
Yes indeed, this is referring to the end times, specifically, to the beginning of the Tribulation (which commences only after the opening of the seventh seal after a brief period of delay). The meaning of the incense et al. is covered in the Coming Tribulation series in part 3A (see the link: The Seventh Seal).
The golden bowls represent the value God places on our prayers, preserved in gold and kept safe by angels until the time when they may be appropriately answered. The incense demonstrates that our prayers are acceptable to the Father. They have a "sweet savor" to Him because they are coming from those who have put their faith in the Person and work of the One who offered Himself on the cross, His beloved Son our Lord. The Tribulation will be a time of trouble like no other (Dan.12:1; Matt.24:21), but we can rest in the knowledge that God will hear all our prayers even then, and though our complete deliverance will not come about until the return of our Lord Jesus at the Second Advent, God will judge the world on our behalf even before that blessed event occurs (cf. the trumpet and bowl judgments).
In our dear Savior Jesus Christ, Marana Tha!
Are the Four Horses of Apocalypse analogous to the four horses of Zechariah 6:1-5?
“And I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came four chariots out from between two mountains; and the mountains were mountains of brass.  In the first chariot were red horses; and in the second chariot black horses;  And in the third chariot white horses; and in the fourth chariot grisled and bay horses.  Then I answered and said unto the angel that talked with me, What are these, my lord?  And the angel answered and said unto me, These are the four spirits of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth.” (Zech. 6:1-5)
Therefore, is the pale green horse a symbol of the fourth spirit rider 'Locusts King' Abaddon/Apollyon? Are not locusts the masters of green vegetation destruction?
I take the four spirits of Zech.6 to be the four winds of Rev.7, and
not analogous to the four horsemen of Rev.6. The Hebrew word ruach
means both "spirit" and "wind", just like the Greek word pneuma,
so that the translation "these are the four spirits of the heavens"
could equally be translated "these are the four winds". But while the
parallels between Rev.7 and Zech.6 are numerous and clear, there are
problems with a comparison of Rev.6 with Zech.6. In Rev.6, the horsemen
have individual mounts, but in Zech.6 it is a question of chariots.
Also, the colors cannot be made to match up. The gist of what I have
written about the Zech.6 passage in CT 2B (see the link: "The
four angels of the four winds") is that these are indeed the same as
the angels of the winds in Rev.7, for in both cases we have to do with
real angelic agents administering divine judgment.
On the other hand, it is more obvious from the Greek, but the four horsemen of Rev.6 are surely symbolic, rather than being references to actual angels (elsewhere in Revelation, angels are identified as such). They fall into the category of allegoric visions (like the Woman representing Israel or the Great Red Dragon representing Satan). Here is an excerpt on that from CT 2B (see the link: "the seven seals"):
The so-called "four horsemen" of seals one through four are symbols representing specific tribulational trends (as is the case with seals five and six as well), and are not actual entities in their own right. This is an especially important point to grasp given the recurrent mistranslation of these verses which one finds in most English versions: as will be seen from the translations given below, the four living creatures do not address their respective "horsemen" with the command "come!", but in reality are addressing John with the dual commands "come and see!" (commands followed in each of the four cases by the appearance of one the sequential symbolic horsemen for John to view, consider and record).
The only locusts in Revelation are of course the demon horde of
Rev.9. These attack people, not vegetation. I am no expert on locusts,
but I do believe that I am correct in saying that they are only green in
color when solitary; in swarms (the way we would be thinking about them
in this case) they are black, brown, tan, etc. I did once drive through
a locust swarm when traveling across Utah many years ago (this
particular variety was incredibly fierce looking, by the way - they were
grayish black). As to the Greek word for green here, chloros, as
it is used in the context of Rev.6, is most probably meant to reflect
the sickly color of corpses, especially the Mediterranean olive-toned
skin deprived of blood which would be more of a pale green than one
would find in the case of a deceased person of northern European stock
who had largely stayed out of the sun. Since "death" is indeed the name
of this rider, that would certainly seem to be the point of the
attribution. In short, I don't see in this coloring a way to connect
Abaddon with the fourth horseman.
In our Lord,
I read your suggested article and found it to be very informational.
I do agree that these spirits (angels) are also representative of four
winds by both Hebrew and Greek definitions.
What I was suggesting in the analogy of the 'Four Horses of Apocalypse' and the 'Four Horses of Zechariah 6' was that in both instances these horses are transporting 'spirits', either Satanic Angelic Spirits riding or Heavenly Angelic Spirits in chariots, respectively. Therefore, in relation to the Four Horses of Apocalypse they sequentially perform specific functions in support of Satan and the man AC.
Regarding the locusts, you are exactly right that they are only 'green' at birth as singles, but the point I hoped to allude to is that their primary destructive focus of appetite is 'green' vegetation and Apollyon is the king of these 'green' devourers. Although, in this case they are commanded not to eat their normal diet which is anything 'green', but rather sting the unsealed of God.
On another note, after reading your article on the 144,000 I applaud your acknowledgment and Biblical insight that they are indeed Jews. However, are they actually going to be literal sexual virgins or spiritual virgins who will never bow their knees to the 'Woman Mystery Babylon' or any of her Harlot children?
Look at what Apostle Paul declared about the Church.
“For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” (2 Cor. 11:2)
Thank you for you patience.
You are most welcome. I appreciate your ability to maintain
fellowship, even when interpretations differ (that is somewhat of a
rarity in this day and age!).
To take the last first, you certainly make a persuasive argument about the virginity of the 144,000. It is indeed very tempting to see this virginity as symbolic against the backdrop of the prostitute, Babylon. I also take your point about the symbolism of the chastity of the Church overall. I am somewhat skeptical, though. The description in Revelation 14:4-5 is very difficult to make "symbolic" (many have tried). These men have not had illicit relationships "with women (plural)", and that is a very deliberate way to put it. In fact, there is very little about the 144,000 which lends itself to symbolic interpretation (if anything at all). You can find out more about my position on this at the link: part 4 of Coming Tribulation, “The Martyrdom of the 144,000”.
On the four horsemen, here I think we are going to have to agree to disagree in reverse. These I see as completely symbolic. In the original Greek (though not reflected in any major translation of which I am aware), it is clear that the commands given by the four living creatures are given to John: "come and see!" This was confusing to later readers so that many of the later manuscripts have left out the "see" which would have made this point clear in translation. Also, as I say, these four seem in every way very much along the lines of the other "wondrous signs" that John is given to see (e.g., the Woman, and the Dragon, of Rev.12). The way in which these four are identified and act is also very different from what we see of angels in Revelation (and elsewhere). These just seem to "appear" out of nowhere ("behold!"), whereas we see the point of origin of genuine angels (coming out of the temple etc.; and, n.b., they are identified as angels). Also, it is the horses which are mentioned first in all four cases - the riders, identified only impersonally ("one", "another" etc.), are only described after the horses whose color here is significant in every case (so the colors at least are irrefutably symbolic). As I say, there are so many fundamental differences between Rev.6 and Zech.6, that I cannot see my way clear to making them the same or even similar, especially when I find the identification of winds of Rev.7 and those of Zech.6 so clear.
Thanks for your encouraging comments and for your patience.
In our Lord,