I have a question for you, I hope you do not mind and can direct me. I have been talking to some others who are into "Deliverance". I am not sure what all this involves. Does this concern only those who are "Possessed" etc.? Can those who are "filled" with the Spirit of God be "Possessed". I appreciate your input, and I have read your information at length on your site.
Always good to hear from you. The popular manifestations of cult behavior based upon misapplications of single scriptures and/or completely non-biblical ideas are multiplying rapidly of late as the clock ticks down on Laodicea. You are absolutely correct in your assessment that believers cannot be demon possessed. Demon possession requires handing over one's will (to a large degree) to a demon, and that is theologically inconsistent with handing over one's will to Christ in salvation. As you also point out, the Spirit will not allow demon possession of believers (cf. 1Cor.12:3).
I have written some about the "demon deliverance" movement at the following link (see especially response #4): "Demon Influences". One thing that always seems to be present in such "movements" is the profit motive: books, tapes, DVDs for sale, sessions and seminars which are not free, etc. That is a sure giveaway as far as I am concerned. This is yet another in a very long list of examples of contemporary Christianity being interested in "what's exciting" rather than what the Word of God teaches and there being no lack of wolves ready to cull the sheep. This info-tainment approach to Christianity is about all that is left inside the doors of many churches and, sadly, inside the hearts of many marginal believers today.
There is no evidence that exorcism has been legitimate since the passing of the apostles, and good reason to see it as a special miracle that was only meant to function in their day. In addition to the link provided above, please see also:
Prayers for Binding
I would be very happy to answer any other question you may have or which may arise on the topic but I would strongly counsel you to give all such activities a very wide berth.
In Jesus our all-sufficient Deliverer,
Hope you have been well.
Question is: God is immutable, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient. He is only limited by the boundaries He has established in the Word of God. Is this correct? What are satan's characteristics? He is limited, but could you share with me how?
Good to hear from you again. Yes, that is correct. The qualities of omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence in particular are relative characteristics. That is to say, they express in human terms God's nature in regard to the finite universe: but in truth He transcends this universe in every way. Whatever limits and boundaries there are to God's exercise of His power, presence and wisdom are entirely self-imposed and accord perfectly with His comprehensive plan for history. God limits Himself and His actions for our benefit. He refrains from destroying evil immediately in order that we may partake of His unlimited grace in Jesus Christ so as to be saved, grow spiritually, and help others do the same for His glory and our eternal reward.
As to the evil one, he is a mere creature. It is true that he is (or was) the most exalted of angelic creation, and also that as an angel his powers and abilities are far beyond human comprehension (for the time being). But the devil is limited in time, space, and power, and also in his knowledge. Satan may have existed since the beginning of creation, but not before (and his end in the lake of fire is coming up rapidly); Satan may be able to dart across the universe at great speed, but he still cannot pass beyond it and still has to travel from point to point as all angels do; Satan may have powers beyond all other creatures, but they are still limited, not only absolutely but also by what God will allow him to do; Satan may be the most intelligent creature who ever lived, but he falls far short of knowing everything. Case in point on this last observation is that even though he "knew" about God's perfect character and unlimited power, he nevertheless has led a rebellion against Him: intelligence does not equal wisdom.
You can find out much more about the above at the following links:
The Essence of God: His Nature and Characteristics (in BB 1)
Satan's Original Status (in SR 1)
Satan's Character, Sin and Fall (in SR 1)
I hope this helps do feel free to write me back about it.
In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,
Dear Dr. Luginville,
I am avid reader of the Ichthys web portal. This is the first time that I write to you, so I sincerely hope that you receive this email and be able to respond. I am writing so that you can give me a correct perspective on something that occurred last night which has terrified me like nothing before in my life. I was visiting a friend at his country house and was having a serious discussion about God, family and other matters. I must first tell you that I am a Christian, have been so for many years, but only during the last three years has my life significantly changed towards a total devotion to Our Lord. I do not attend any church, for a very simple reason: I dont like churchianity,
Going back to my story; as I was standing outside around ten clock at night, it was very very dark, there were no lights anywhere except those inside the house. When all of a sudden, I saw these two rays of light coming from the slope of the mountain, illuminating the sky in a precise round circle. It was very eerie, and I was honestly terrified, as I felt something ominous emanating from there. I felt that these lights knew who we were and were there for us. I immediately asked Christ to cover me with His Blood. I reprimanded in His name whatever it was that was there. Then the strangest thing happened. The lights started to roll back into the mountain gradually, as if something was pulling it. I could see the lights like falling similar to what one observes in those water/light shows when the light is reflected inside the water, going down as the water goes down. Anyhow, the light disappeared and I ran into the house.
I have been going to that house for years, and know the area well. I have never been on that mountain (about half a kilometer away from where I was standing), but know for a FACT that there is no house there, and it could not have been a super strong flashlight, as it seemed like the light of an anti aircraft artillery similar to those used during WWII, only that it only went up to around three hundred feet, and NO MORE. Besides, the terror I felt I cannot explain; I am a reasonable man, and was not alone. What could this have been? Forgive my audacity in writing to you about this, but your profound knowledge of the Bible might shed some light and might help explain the terror that I felt until I invoked the name of Jesus Christ.
Good to make your acquaintance. It is not uncommon for Christians to have experiences which seem to have no earthly explanation (please see the link: "Unexplained Phenomena"). These take a wide variety of forms. Sometimes, it turns out later that there was, for all the seeming unlikeliness, a physical explanation. Sometimes not. In the latter cases, we know very well from scripture that the spiritual warfare raging around us is far more intense and far more significant than anything of which the secular world is aware. I think you have handled this incident in an exemplary way. On the one hand you did not jump to unwarranted conclusions, though many would have done so. And on the other hand, you refused to have anything personally to do with anything which might possibly have had a satanic origin, courageously taking refuge in the Lord as your defense.
It is only speculation, but I expect the rate of occurrence of such things to accelerate the closer we get to the Tribulation. For me, this is another indication of how much we need to be redoubling our efforts in spiritual growth. Christians who are not informed about such things and who are otherwise incapable of facing "whitecaps" on the spiritual sea are certainly going to be in trouble when the 20 ft. swells start rolling in. Your response to an unknown situation by applying the principles of the Word of God which you could (and did) know is an example to the rest of us. It certainly shows that you have used the last three years very well indeed.
I hope you will allow me to post this some day (with anonymity removing personal and geographic information).
Keep on fighting the good fight of faith in Jesus Christ in whom we are completely secure.
Dear Dr. Luginbil,
Thank you for your prompt and kind reply. You have my permission to use my experience anonymously anytime you'd like. Now I must confess to you in all truthfulness the reason why I began reading your website. It is the only place where I have found an explanation to something that has plagued me all my life. If I may, Id like to give you a brief recount of my life, so that you may understand why I could not explain to myself the obstacles that I have been facing all my life, and why your site has shed some light on the reasons that might, or might not, be behind it all.
Because of (unspecified) troubles at home, I became estranged from my family as a young adult. My life was a whirlwind of vanity and hedonism thereafter. The far and few professional opportunities that came before me I mishandled through bad advice from my family which always managed to be a stumbling block in my life, so that I fell. Some years ago, the Lord saved me from a terrible accident, thanks to supernatural intervention and the prayers of other family members and their church. This is was the beginning of my search for Christ. More often than not until a brief time ago, I was living in the world. My life has been an uphill battle. So, my question Dr. Luginbill, is why, since I became a Christian, has my life turned into such an obstacle course? I have lost all my money, house, friends (good riddance), job, and business. I know that I was not in full obedience until a few years ago and even then under full obedience only during the couple of years. I recognize now that I was sinning, and that I was lukewarm, but now I am not.
Why is it that things are so difficult for me? I have been attacked by and betrayed by family and friends. I will not go into the appalling details. I know that I have done bad things to myself, but not to them. I have witnessed some kind of collective hatred towards me all my life from my closest family. I don't understand why friends with whom I had been loving and devoted to, would viciously turn around against me at the drop of a hat. I KNOW that I am a good guy, most people like me. So, why has this journey been so trying on me? Why has God abandoned me, if He knows my heart is not bad, and I am His son? Is there any reason why I cannot get a break in my life? Was I born to be the punching bag of everyone in my family? Or is there something more sinister? Why is it that people envy me so much? I don't mean to sound nagging or complaining like a baby, but my situation defies any rational explanation. It is just not logical.
Your web site answered some of these questions, such as the fact that we live in enemy territory and that all seems to be against us. Does this mean that MY God is leaving me abandoned here as well? Am I ever going to have someone who loves me for what I am? Am I to be rejected always? In other words, can I expect to have a normal life sometime, or should I resign myself to abandonment, dejection, loneliness and unfulfilled expectations?
When you have time to read this, please pray for me, as I think I am alone and you seem to understand things better than anyone I know!
God bless you!
You have certainly led an interesting life (obvious I think even from leaving out most of the details in this post) and a difficult one too, especially of late. First, I want to commend you in your trusting of God and not reacting to your early-life circumstances in such a way as to turn away from Him completely. As our Lord says in the parable of the sower . . .
And these [second types] who are sown on the rocky places are similar. Whenever they hear the Word they immediately receive it with joy, although they have no root [of faith] in themselves, but are only temporary [believers]. When tribulation or persecution because of the Word comes [their way], they are immediately tripped up (i.e., they apostatize).
The fact is that very many people who have suffered the sort of thing you have, especially abuse, react to it and blame God. Once that happens, it seems that they are usually "done with God", and whatever faith they once had withers away. Whatever happens, please hold on tight to your faith. Times may be tough, but God always has His reasons for allowing us to experience/suffer whatever we must experience/suffer. Sometimes we can figure it out easily, sometimes we may have an idea but not be sure, sometimes we don't have a clue. But Jesus Christ is "the same yesterday, today and forever" (Heb.13:8). We change, but God does not change. That means that He loves us perfectly and cannot, because of His very nature, do anything to us that is unfair or unjust or unloving. If we are being "hit", as you certainly have been and continue to be, there is always an explanation, even if we can only get that explanation in general terms.
Remember, Christians are forgiven their sins when they believe (Col.2:13).
Remember, Christians are forgiven their sins after salvation when they confess (1Jn.1:9).
Remember, if God ever does "hit" us, it is divine discipline lovingly administered to us as sons for the purpose of causing us to repent and for the purpose of training us after we do repent (Heb.12:2-13).
Remember, that although discipline sometimes does last a long time for particularly egregious sins such as murder and adultery (2Sam.12:7-12), God never lays upon us anything we are unable to bear up under (1Cor.10:13), even if it may sometimes seem like it.
Remember, sometimes when we are being "hit" it is not because we have done anything wrong at all, and we are being "hit" by the evil one, not our dear Lord (read the book of Job); this is called "sharing the sufferings of Christ" and is a great compliment to us, even though all of us would likely choose to avoid such undeserved suffering if we had a choice.
Remember, we belong to Jesus Christ; He died for us and we are His special possessions, having been saved through the shedding of His blood in dying for our sins; He loves us; He is not trying to destroy us; we are part of Him and He "cannot deny Himself" (2Tim.2:13), and He will "in no wise cast out" anyone who has come to Him" (Jn.6:37).
So whatever we are called upon to endure, it is a fact that it has all been part of God's plan since before He made the universe, and we can be sure that He means it for our good, since, for those who love Him, He is always working "all things out for the good" (Rom.8:28). Mind you, it may not seem "good" to us; it may seem anything but! This is where faith is made or broken. We say on good days, "Lord, I will follow you wherever you lead!" But how deeply do we mean it? How strong is our faith, and how strong are we willing to let it become. For it is only by such testing and trials that faith can grow strong. Faith is like a muscle. It needs to be exercised to grow. And we might as well let it grow. After all, we say this is what we want, to serve Jesus beyond everything else in this world. We claim to put Him first in all things. And, consider, the tests will come whether or not we are ready (so we best get ready) and will continue whether or not we are passing them or failing them so why not pass them? Why not trust God? Job trusted God in spite of the fact that such horrific things were happening to him that no one on earth was willing to believe that Job had not "brought it on himself". Job didn't allow the pressure to crack his faith (and he only experienced trouble when his questionable friends implied that he was only suffering because of sin which was not the case at all). Read Hebrews chapter eleven. These great believers of the past trusted the Lord and were delivered through worse things than we can imagine by faith we should follow their example. Read the book of Revelation (and the Coming Tribulation series). Whatever difficulties we face at present, no matter how horrible they are they are no match for what will be the "norm" during the fast approaching Tribulation. I correspond with many Christians and it does seem to me that the pressures for all of us are "ramping up" at present. In my view, that is because the Lord is preparing us to be ready to face what is coming and we can't be ready if we experience nothing but "smooth sailing" between now and then.
Remember, you are not alone:
Stay sober and stay awake [on guard]. Our adversary the devil roams about like a roaring lion, looking for someone he can devour. Resist him, strong in your faith, remembering that your fellow believers in this world are undergoing the exact same sort of suffering [that you are].
1st Peter 5:8-9
Remember, God will never abandon you:
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."
Hebrews 13:5 NIV
Remember, God is the One who is fighting for us so who can stand against us?
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39 NIV
These things are true. It takes will, it takes choice, it takes active faith to believe them and put them into practice in our lives. Failing to trust God when the going gets rough and no one could or should tell you that you do not have it rough for you plainly do is a formula for no spiritual growth and, eventually, for regressing. Trusting God that He will deliver you no matter what your eyes see or your ears hear or the world says is the formula for drawing closer to Him, for growing spiritually, and for earning great reward in eternity (Dan.6:23).
That is really the essence of it. You write, "can I expect to have a normal life sometime?" and "should I resign myself to abandonment, dejection, loneliness and unfulfilled expectations?" There is nothing normal about the Christian life not if it is being properly lived. The devil is not about to allow Christians to do what Jesus really wants them to do without making it as difficult for them as possible. Every good decision we make will be tested, will be opposed. As you correctly report, I often compare this life we lead for Christ to a war, because that is a common biblical comparison. It is indeed a war, though our weapons are not of this world (2Cor.10:4; Eph.6:10-18) and two of our most basic weapons are our shield . . . of faith (Eph.6:16), and our sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Eph.6:17).
If a Christian is viewing things from the correct, divine perspective, it is actually possible even to enjoy the combat into which we have been thrust by our decision to join Christ and by our constant decisions day by day thereafter to pick up our cross and actually follow Him (cf. Jas.1:2). Consider, this life lasts only for the blink of an eye. We are looking forward to that city whose architect and builder is God Himself (Heb.11:10); we are looking forward to a new body which will never know pain or decay; we are looking forward to blissful eternal fellowship with our brothers and sisters who have likewise chosen for Christ and with our dear Lord Himself; and we are looking forward to the rewards that last not for a moment but which last forever.
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Matthew 6:19-21 NIV
So much of the successful Christian life focuses around these very issues; reading your Bible day by day, accessing orthodox teaching, believing the truth of what you are taught, applying that truth to your life, and then helping others do likewise through the proper functioning of your own unique spiritual gifts involves and requires at every stage a sort of "mental reprogramming".
The world tells us to fear death; we have to make ourselves fear God instead that is a faith choice.
The world tells us to esteem wealth; we have to make ourselves realize that the riches of eternity are what really count.
The world tells us we need more; we have to make ourselves accept that if we have food and clothing, that is really sufficient in most cases for God's purpose for us.
In short, the truth is exactly the opposite of what our sin nature tells us, what our worldly acquaintances tell us, what the devil tells us. We have to learn and accept in faith that everything we have assumed about "the good life" is a horrible lie. No one wants pain; no one wants to be sick and/or poor; no one want to be attacked, imprisoned, martyred. No one wants any trouble of any kind at any time. But if we truly do choose to follow Jesus, we are going to have at least some trouble as our Lord Himself told us:
In this world you do have tribulation. But be courageous. I have overcome the world.
This world is passing away. Whatever trouble we have here will only last the blink of an eye. This is like an airplane flight from one continent to another. Does it really matter if we are wining and dining in first class or freezing and starving in the baggage compartment? It does if those in baggage will be blessed forever when they get off the plane while those in first class will be cast into hell. Of course, human nature being what it is, we all would prefer first class along with eternal blessing. In the history of God's people, however, that is not the way of things, not, at any rate, for those who have chosen to follow the Lamb wherever He leads. In the New Jerusalem there will be twelve distinct "neighborhoods", and those on the east side of the eternal city are reserved for those who win the three crowns of reward (see the link: "The Judgment and Reward of the Church"). Strive to win the prize. No matter how much comfort you might have in this life, it will matter nothing in the end. Do what pleases Jesus. See your life from the larger perspective, the correct perspective, the divine perspective. You are here for Jesus Christ and He has definite plans for you. If you are being tested, He is allowing it for a purpose for your growth. Men and angels are watching. How are you doing? Don't feel bad about being pressured and "hit". If you are suffering for Jesus, you can be glad about it (Jas.1:2). That is not the stuff of spiritual immaturity but of the mature believer who is courageously advancing up the high road to Zion in emulation of our Forerunner Jesus Christ. Keep running. Keep advancing. Make it your goal to serve Jesus, to win the best rewards you can possibly win this pleases Him and honors Him. And, after all, what else are you doing here on the earth? This plane will land sooner than we imagine. The best thing would be for us to have something good to lay before our Lord's feet when we walk down the ramp to greet Him.
Don't despair but encourage yourself in the Lord (1st Sam.30:6). We are all in this fight together, and in fighting it properly there is great reward. No one fights a perfect fight, so do not get "down" about mistakes, errors, sins, failures, bad attitudes of the past. Don't look back (Phil.3:12-16). Get up and get moving. The worst thing Satan can do is kill us, and he can only do so if Jesus lets him; if he does, we will be with Jesus immediately which is what we say we want and what we should want more than anything else in the world anyway.
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
Philippians 1:21 NIV
I will definitely pray for you. You may draw some comfort from some of these other links too:
In Need of Guidance and Encouragement.
God Works All Things Together for Good.
Christian Trials and Testing
On the Firing Line
Fighting the Good Fight of Faith.
Faith and Encouragement in the midst of Fiery Trials.
Encouragement in Christian Sufferings.
In need of encouragement.
Waiting on God.
Your brother in Jesus Christ.
Dear Dr Luginbill
I am writing to you in connection with Rev 4:4 and Rev 5:8. It speaks of 24 elders sitting on 24 thrones surrounding GOD'S throne, wearing (WHITE ROBES) does this symbolise that they have been redeemed?. They are also wearing golden crowns which I believe symbolises authority and monarchy that is they are kings and Christ is the king of kings. Clearly they are not angels, and they are not the cherubim, yet they sit in the throne room with GOD. Who are they exactly? Have they always been there? I don't see them mentioned in Ezekiel and Isaiah where there is mention of the throne room and the cherubim and GOD. What is their real connection to us human beings?
In revelation 5:8, I see these elders holding golden bowls filled with incense which are the prayers of GOD'S people i.e. the redeemed church, does this mean our prayers go to them first and they in turn offer them to GOD on our behalf?
May GOD continue to increase you in wisdom
Good to hear from you. I have written about both of these passages rather extensively in the Coming Tribulation series, so while I will give you the gist of it here, please do consult the links supplied for the details.
The elders are indeed angels. The scene in the heavenly throne room takes place just before the Tribulation begins (i.e., the scroll has not yet been opened). Since the Church has at that time not yet been resurrected, even departed believers have not yet been rewarded (cf. Heb.11:40) so the crowns of reward (stephanoi, not diademata) definitely indicate that these are not human beings. Also, this is clearly the perfect and complete "college" of elders but many members of the Church have not even been born yet at this point, so how can such an elite group yet have been picked? So for that reason too these have to be angels. Please see the links: "Elders" in SR 4, and "The Angelic Elders" in CT 2B.
As to the incense, we are laboring here with bad translations in most of the versions. Here is how I render the verse:
And when He took the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell [down] before the Lamb, each with a lyre and golden bowls of incense, which [incense] is as prayers of the saints (i.e., Christ's sacrifice which validates our prayers is represented by the incense).
This is further explained in Revelation chapter 8
(1) And when He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. (2) And I saw the seven angels who stood before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. (3) And another angel with a golden censer came and stood by the altar, and much incense was given to him so that he might offer it for the prayers of the saints on the golden altar in front of the throne. (4) And smoke from the incense went up from the hand of the angel before God for the prayers of the saints. (5) Then the angel took the incense holder and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it to the earth. And there occurred thunderous voices and flashes of lightning and an earthquake.
Thus, the offering of the incense represents our prayers being empowered by Christ's work which is represented by the incense (as is always the case in the ritual of the Tabernacle/Temple). Christ's work on the cross is what validates our prayers. So this ritual engaged in by the elders is meant to symbolize what makes our prayers efficacious: the Blood of Christ, i.e., His death for sin in the darkness on Calvary's cross, giving off a sweet savor to the Father who then hears our prayers since we belong to Christ. These angels are by no means "go-betweens", as now we have access to the Father directly through Jesus' sacrifice on our behalf (Eph.2:18; 3:12; Heb.4:16; see the link: Access and Intercession).
"If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it."
John 14:14 NASB
Please see the links for more on this:
The Lamb and the Scroll (Rev.5:1-14)
The Angel with the Censer and the Golden Altar
The Golden Altar of Incense
And please feel free to write me back about any of this.
In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,
Greetings again Dr Luginbill,
It's always good to hear from you too as always Your teachings have been sustenance for my spirit. I was watching a bible show about the end times and the host said that Satan's activities are nullified during Jesus' 1,000 yr reign. What about the activity of the multitudes of demons that are currently at work in the world? The bible only says that Satan is bound but nothing about restraining the demons. Are all demons and evil spirits subordinate to Satan? does this mean that if Satan is restrained, then all the evil spirits are also restrained? I can't find a passage in the bible that states that the demons obey Satan. On the contrary they seem to at times be at odds with each other as if Satan and his minions are confused. Like when Satan tried to stop Jesus' death through Peter but at first wanted to Jesus to be killed. Your thoughts on these. Thank you in advance!
When our Lord is blasphemously accused by His enemies of throwing out demons in the power of the devil, He remarks, "If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand?" (Matt.12:26, NIV). In my view, whenever fallen angels are described it is in this same sort of way. That is to say, scripture seems everywhere to take for granted that the demons are Satan's followers. It is also true that just as the elect angels are organized as and function according to a military hierarchy, so also the fallen angels are consistently described in these terms, suggesting strongly that the devil is indeed their "commanding officer" (see the link: in BB 2A, "The Organization of the Fallen Angels"). Also, I know of no scripture that even hints at any demon ever doing anything to oppose Satan. After all, they are "his angels":
"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels".
Matthew 25:41 NIV
The great dragon was hurled down--that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.
Revelation 12:9 NIV
The issue of what happens to Satan's angelic followers during Christ's millennial rule is, I think, the real issue here. I think it would be beyond strange, with the devil incarcerated for that entire time period, and with the time meant to be one of the greatest blessing to mankind since the garden of Eden, if demons were allowed to run (or fly) free, causing all manner of trouble around the world. For this and other reasons I have concluded that the demons share the devil's fate of being removed from the world during this time, and that they are not mentioned only because Satan is their head and therefore the only one who needs to be specifically mentioned (please see the link where I give all the details on this: in CT 6, "The Incarceration of Satan and his Demons in the Abyss during the Millennium).
As to the devil's tactics, they always boil down to opposing God and His plan. But Satan is only a creature, and he is a creature who has allowed his arrogance to completely corrupt his thinking at that ("you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor"; Ezek.28:17 NIV). Everything that happens in the world only happens because God has plugged it into His perfect and all-encompassing master plan, so that it very often occurs that the devil and his minions are only helping God, even when they are striving might and main to oppose Him (see the link: in BB 2A, "God's employment of evil spirits").
Thanks as always for your encouraging comments.
In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,
Hi Dr. Luginbill,
I have found all your writings very informative. I understand your position on how Lucifer was capable of persuading a portion of the angelic beings by promising, in one way or another, physical bodies to angels that followed him.
1. Keeping that in mind, what is your position regarding the identity of Christ's army when returning at the end of Tribulation. I have read that he will return with ten thousands of his angels, but I have also been taught that we (church) will return with him. What is your opinion on this. Will Christ return with his angels to fight the final battle, or will He and the Church fight this battle? There is another position I have thought of lately. Could it be both. Christ returns with his angels and his Bride (church) to fight the final battle.
2. Here is a farfetched idea. Your opinion on this is most appreciated. Since the fallen angels desire a physical body it would make sense that ALL angels desire a physical body. That being said it would also make sense that God would create satisfaction in heaven when all is said and done. I would imagine that He will fulfill the desire (however small) of his elect angels to poses physical bodies. He, being a good God, will probably reward the angels that remained faithful to Him. As far as humans, we crave wisdom and immortality. Here it goes. Is it possible that God will fulfill His angels desire to obtain physical bodies (even a sense of emotion) and man's desire for wisdom and immortality at once? Two birds with one stone. Meaning, since we all have a guardian angel, I would thing that it is that angels responsibility to guide and protect us. Could each one of us be a gift to that guardian angel and he to us? I have read somewhere that God takes back his spirit (perhaps misunderstood this) he gave us when we were born and I'm thinking perhaps God will pair us with the angel that is protecting us, and thus giving us an eternal spirit. The opposite MIGHT also be true that the fallen ones paired up with unbelievers and thrown in the lake of fire.
3. How can fire (physical) destroy a spiritual being, i.e. the lake of fire destroying both body and spirit?
Just trying to make sense of it all.
Yours in Christ,
Good to make your acquaintance, and thank you for your thoughtful email.
1. I concur completely. We do return with Christ (1Cor.15:23), and scripture also states that the elect angels (Dan.7:13; 1Thes.1:10) are also part of the heavenly host which accompanies our Lord at His second advent return (Matt.24:31; Rev.19:14). At the final trumpet, the Church is resurrected with those believers still alive on earth rising first in a living resurrection, and those already departed being resurrected immediately thereafter (1Thes.4:16-17). However, just as the entire army of Israel watched David fight the battle with Goliath, we are present at Armageddon as the King's retainers, but it is Christ who fights the battle:
Who is this coming from Edom, from Bozrah, with his garments stained crimson? Who is this, robed in splendor, striding forward in the greatness of his strength? "It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save." Why are your garments red, like those of one treading the winepress? "I have trodden the winepress alone; from the nations no one was with me. I trampled them in my anger and trod them down in my wrath; their blood spattered my garments, and I stained all my clothing. For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and the year of my redemption has come. I looked, but there was no one to help, I was appalled that no one gave support; so my own arm worked salvation for me, and my own wrath sustained me. I trampled the nations in my anger; in my wrath I made them drunk and poured their blood on the ground."
Isaiah 63:1-6 NIV
He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene; so his own arm worked salvation for him, and his own righteousness sustained him. He put on righteousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head; he put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak. According to what they have done, so will he repay wrath to his enemies and retribution to his foes; he will repay the islands their due.
Isaiah 59:16-18 NIV
Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.
Revelation 19:15 NIV
The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.
Revelation 19:21 NIV
All this is written up in some detail in part 5 of Coming Tribulation: Armageddon and the Second Advent (see the link). I have, however, suggested in part 6 of the same series that, in conjunction with the elect angels (cf. Matt.24:31), we believers do play a role in the incarceration of the demon armies on this occasion (along the lines of Revelation and 19:20 and 20:1-3; see the link).
2. There is admittedly very much about eternity to which we are presently not privy. As I often say, if we truly did have a clear idea of what our eternal lives in New Jerusalem are going to be like, it could very well be distracting from the business at hand in this world. It might unnaturally reduce our motivation to fight the fight of faith (since we would appreciate to a deep level how insignificant this world is in comparison with the next) or it might unnaturally increase our motivation for the same reason (giving us an unfair advantage so that our faith-decisions might not be entirely of faith since we would "know everything already"). In any case, the more we do know from scripture, the more it changes things here and now, and the Lord has set the parameters of our present knowledge about the future perfectly in order to achieve the ideal mix of testing and faith. We know enough about the future to be genuinely "reward-motivated", but that knowledge is not so tangibly and deeply vivid to remove the necessity of vigorously applying our faith in order to stay motivated to do what we ought to be doing for the Lord here and now.
So while I am skeptical about the proposition, I would not wish to state definitively what will and will not happen in eternity, for you do make a very good point. I don't find anything in scripture to suggest that elect angels are unsatisfied in any way; the dissatisfaction of the devil and his followers was and is bound up in their essential unwillingness to submit to the Lord. That is the key issue for all moral creatures and the essential reason why so many human beings are unwilling to accept the salvation in Jesus Christ which is theirs for the asking (if fallen angels are unhappy about not having physical bodies, unbelievers are unhappy about not being "gods" in an eternal sense since unlike angels who do not have bodies all human beings who do have them are mortal). Through our submission, of course, we will rule with Christ forever, so in the case of human beings we will have whatever grinding disappointment we are currently experiencing relieved in eternity in that respect yet we will ever be subordinate to the Lord (cf. 1Cor.15:27-28). I have also indulged in speculation about these sorts of things myself: since God creates all spirits, and since the spirits of animals are in no way culpable or capable of moral choice, I find the argument that there will be a place in the world to come for all of God's elect creatures to be persuasive (though not conclusive). One thing I can say is that none of God's elect creatures, moral or otherwise, will lack for anything in eternity or even be capable of sorrow or disappointment or any such thing (Rev.21:4).
As to the pairing up in eternity of those angels presently assigned to believers, it certainly stands to reason that there might be some sort of continuing relationship. We are, however, each our own absolutely independent creature as soon as we are so created by the Hand of God, and we will ever be so. That is true of unbelievers and fallen angels as well (and this addresses your third question): there is no annihilation of the spirit. Indeed, unbelievers are likewise resurrected, but unto a resurrection of death (Jn.5:29), the second death (Rev.20:6; 20:14; 21:8). This second death is defined not by oblivion but by separation from God who is eternal life. Unbelievers and fallen angels will exist for all eternity as well, but their existence will be outside of the perfect new heavens and new earth and will be one of living death in fire and torment forever (see the link: in CT 6 "The Last Judgment"). One would think that this knowledge would provide motivation as well!
On "the spirit returns to God who gave it" (Eccl.12:7), please see the link.
Keep up the good work in your studies of the Word of God. In this there is great reward.
Yours in Jesus our dear Lord,
Hi Dr. Robert D. Luginbill,
I appreciate your work on Satan's rebellion and fall. I have done a similar work Satan's Origin and Fall http://www.douglashamp.com/satans-origin-and-fall/
I found your article because I am doing research to establish the connection between rakil and rekhulatkha. I am suggesting that latter word could be translated "your slandering". You are making a very similar suggestion. If you have any more thoughts on the word I would appreciate them. One thing that I see that makes it a strong connection is that the Greek diabolos means slanderer which of course is indicative of his nature and I would argue his fall. Your analysis of his premeditation I think is top notch. I am in the middle of writing a book and I plan on quoting you in the book.
Very good to make your acquaintance, and many thanks for your kind words.
As to your question, BDB gives the definition "go about, from one to another (for trade or gossip)". Other lexicons, Gesenius, for example, and TWOT have a similar take, though noting that the idea of trafficking is the main one in the verb. KB goes a different route and suggests there are two RCL roots an interesting suggestion given that, outside of this passage, the idea merchant activity is more common in the verb whereas it is the noun rachiyl which is unquestionably focused on slandering. However, I do not think that it is necessary to divide the roots. In my view, the occasions where there really are two completely separate roots accidentally spelled the same way in Hebrew are actually quite rare (in spite of the practice of many lexica to do this sort of splitting all the time), and the instances where a native Hebrew speaker of that day would see the roots as different, even if they originally were, is an even more remote possibility (e.g., even in English today we seem incapable of that sort of thing, even when the meanings are polar opposites: "cleave unto" and "cleave apart" are originally disparate in origin, but almost no one is aware of it).
In terms of meaning, Hebrew lexica are working with the same information we are. The amount of extra-biblical ancient Hebrew is infinitesimal, so all scholars have to work with the word and related words in their contexts in the scriptures as the predominant source of evidence (secondarily, the LXX can be of use, but in my view more often misleads than helps, especially in places where the meaning is difficult). Since the related noun rachiyl most definitely means "a slanderer", positing that the verb might bear that meaning would be entirely defensible, even if no lexicon agreed.
Finally, as to rechullathecha in Ezekiel 28:16 meaning "your slandering", that is certainly consistent with Hebrew infinitival usage. Your connection of this with diabolos is an excellent point, and one which I will try to keep in mind.
Best wishes for your book!
In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,
Thank you for your reply. I wish I could study at your university and spend a few minutes each day asking you questions that I ask in emails (I'm not assuming you'd have the time or desire to do so!) and that emerge as a result of my reading. I remember you in my prayers every day and I'm very grateful that God crossed my path with somebody of your faith, knowledge and understanding of the scripture, as I honestly don't know anyone who could address all these questions I keep coming up with. I'm keen to follow your footsteps as much as the time allows me. Here is another set of questions.
1. What is meant by 'celestial beings' in 2 Peter 2:10?
2. Regarding Daniel 10:13 - how could the prince of the Persian kingdom have resisted an angel for twenty one days, if angels are more powerful than human beings?
3. Regarding the number of angels, you provided some valid arguments that it is finite, including the fact that their number hasn't changed. A question occurred to me - the fact that their number has not changed may not mean that it is finite. Just a logical question and one resulting from my severely limited biblical knowledge, nevertheless, please clarify.
4. I cannot understand 1 Corinthians 11:10. Why is it because of the angels that a woman ought to have authority over her own head?
5. Why does the Lord allow a spirit to entice a king in 1 Kings 22:19-22, instead of directing to the right path?
6. You wrote:
'Secondly, based upon the use to which similar structures were put in later times (specifically, the ziggurats), celestial worship the worship of demons in place of the true God was undoubtedly a major hidden purpose in the tower's construction (for the symbolism of a tower reaching into the heavens clearly betokens an attempt to make contact with the gods). After political unification had been cemented, the symbolic center-piece of the new collective would be used for pagan religious activity. This pagan devil worship would (as in later times in Babylonia) be a mandatory part of life in the new society, and, as this would be the only society on earth...'
What evidence is there that celestial worship was the hidden purpose in tower's construction?
With prayer and in Our Lord Jesus,
I am always pleased to hear from you, and I remember you in my prayers daily as well. I am most encouraged by your uncommon dedication to learning the scriptures and the systematic truth they contain that is something that in any generation is always rare and can never be taken for granted (something for you to remember when you come into your own ministry).
1. The Greek word here in 2nd Peter 2:10 is doxai, literally "glories. I believe the translation "celestial beings" is alright, as far as it goes; specifically what is being criticized here by Peter is the Gnostic practice of cursing the devil and other fallen angels (please see response #4 in the posting "Christ's Preaching to the spirits"; see the link). This was something that "seemed good" to some inexperienced and naive Christians of that day (and I dare say would appeal to many today as well), but was instead a trap designed to ensnare those intrigued by the practice into Gnosticism which, at its core, is antithetical to true Christianity. Please see the links:
The Adoration of Angels (in SR 4)
Visions of Angels (Col.2:18)
Gnosticism in Colossians
2. The Hebrew word here at Daniel 10:13 is sar, and refers to a very high-level fallen angel (one with many lower ranking demons at his command). Satan has always had such emissaries to all of the important world leaders. These verses provide us with an unaccustomed look into the specifics of the angelic conflict which is raging unseen around us all the time (cf. 2Ki.6:17). For the details on this please see the link: "The Organization of Fallen Angels" in BB 2A: Angelology).
3. Yes, that is true. However, everything we are given to know about the angels (please see the link: BB 2A: Angelology) and it is much less than we should like indicates that there are no new ones being "produced". Jesus tells us that in the resurrection we shall all be "like the angels" in this critical respect of no marriage and no reproduction (Matt.22:30; Mk.12:25; Lk.20:36). Therefore, if there were any new ones "coming on line", they would have to be created by the Lord directly, and there is no hint of such a thing in scripture. Further, and perhaps most significantly, this would complicate the whole picture of God's plan of salvation wherein mankind is created to demonstrate the correctness of the judgment on the fallen angels something very difficult in the case of new angels being created in the middle of the conflict (for the details here please see these links to the Satanic Rebellion Series and also BB 4B of the Basics series: Soteriology). It is difficult to prove a negative, even in theology, but for these reasons I think the supposition is correct (if not entirely logical).
4. Building on the previous point, a large part of the functional purpose of human history (we were always meant to exist) is to demonstrate to the angels things they would never have been able to appreciate otherwise because of their particular nature. Because of what they are, angels don't change once they have made a decision (they have existed without changing, suffering, or aging since the beginning the one exception being the revolt of Satan and his followers). The combination of vast knowledge, vast time of existence, and lack of anything approaching genuine need or necessity means that the human experience is a complete revelation to them. To see how creatures limited in their knowledge, their life-spans, and under all sorts of stress and difficult necessities yet possessing genuine free will as the angels do respond to God and His faithfulness in spite of everything is something "even the angels wish to look into" (1Pet.1:12). This makes good sense too, since the creation of mankind has, as mentioned, one of its objectives the vindication of God's condemnation of the devil, refuting among other things the false defense that God could not or would not make repentance an option for the angels since that is precisely the way all human beings who are saved are saved by the ineffably gracious sacrifice of Jesus Christ (please see the links: in SR 1: "Angelic Observation of Christian Testing"), and in Pet. #22: "The Angels are Watching Us").
5. God allows us to make our own decisions; and when we are determined to choose against Him, He allows us to do so. In fact, that is the whole reason for human history: self-selection of our eternal futures. As to the tactical comings and goings of life, God makes use of everything and everyone to suit His own purposes and to accomplish His perfect plan. Everything that every demon does or ever has done has been fitted into the divine decrees and is in that sense just as essential to the Plan of God as every other action of every moral agent (please see part I of the newly posted BB 4B: Soteriology: "God's Plan to Save You"). The fact that in this particular instance we have more details about just how God employs the demons to do His own bidding is really the only unique thing here (see the link: in SR4: "God's Employment of Evils Spirits"). For God to have prevented this evil king from meeting his just desserts would not have been just he is merely being empowered to do what he wanted to do anyway (cf. 2Thes.2:11-12).
6. On the tower of Babel, as it says in the quote "the use to which similar structures were put in later times" is to me persuasive evidence: all such mammoth human construction projects in antiquity were inextricably tied to pagan religion (e.g., the pyramids). Secondly, since the purpose is from the devil, and since the devil always moves humans toward worshiping him instead of God (that is the whole theme of his efforts with antichrist during the Tribulation, e.g.), it would take a serious argument to convince me that this huge project of his did not have that purpose. Thirdly, religion is the one thing capable of unifying people to such efforts where their direct survival or well-being is not necessarily involved. Fourthly, God's reaction in destroying this construction project would be difficult to explain if it didn't have a dark, satanic objective. All pagan religion is "celestial worship" of one sort or another (as all false religion is, for that matter, given that Satan is an angel).
As always, I very much appreciate your questions, your persistence in the Word, and your attitude. Please feel free to write me any time.
To the glory of the One who bought us with His blood, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
Noticed your reference to Zechariah 5:9 concerning the two women with wings. I believe they were exactly what Zechariah described: "Then I raised my eyes and looked, and there were two women, coming with the wind in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork, and they lifted up the basket between earth and heaven."
Simply two women with wings and not angels. Had they been angels I truly believe Zechariah would have made reference to "two angels". Zechariah was not the least bit intimidated by the winged women, nor did they show any sign of possessing angelic power. They were couriers sent to deliver the basket to Shinar.
But in all of God's creation there are a vast array of creatures that do His bidding; seraphim, cherubim, angels, the Host of Heaven, etc.. I believe these two were dispatched from the Host to carry the basket away.
It will be wonderful to see the Kingdom brought to bear on the earth. See you in Glory if not before. Praise the Lord!
Good to make your acquaintance. Of course, the conclusion that these women are angels is an interpretation, but I believe it to be a correct one. Please consider the following:
And I saw six men coming from the direction of the upper gate, which faces north, each with a deadly weapon in his hand. With them was a man clothed in linen who had a writing kit at his side. They came in and stood beside the bronze altar.
Ezekiel 9:2 NIV
I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of the finest gold around his waist.
Daniel 10:5 NIV
Then I looked up--and there before me was a man with a measuring line in his hand!
Zechariah 2:1 NIV
In each of these passages, but for the context, we might assume that a literal "man" or human being was in view. As it is, however, in each case, "man" refers to a male angel. In the first passage, Ezekiel 9:2ff., we realize this "man" (and these six "men") are angels only from the instructions they are given and carry out. In the second passage, Daniel 10:5, we realize this is an angel only from his physical description in the next verse. In the third passage, also from the book of Zechariah whence the passage in your question, we realize this is an angel only when we get to verse three and he is called "an angel". Therefore the fact that the creatures in Zechariah 5:9 are called "women" does not necessitate that they be human women any more than the fact that in the examples above the creatures are called "man" and "men" necessitates they be human males. In these examples, they are in fact not human beings but angels, despite the fact that they are called "man/men". Likewise in Zechariah 5:9, therefore, we have to look at the other information in the context in drawing our conclusions since from the above it is very clear that Zechariah could have understood them to be angels yet still called them "women" (just as he understood the "man" in Zechariah 2:1 to be an angel yet still called him a "man").
Human women do not have wings, nor are they able to fly. Angels, however, sometimes do have wings and are able to fly. With or without these attributes, human woman could also not accomplish the task given to these "women" however one wants to understand the basket and its contents here, this "removal of iniquity" and its transplanting to Babylon (along with the building of a "house" for it one which is not visible to us) is clearly something that would not be apparent to human beings and must be understood in a metaphysical (if not a symbolic) sense. In addition to their super-human attributes and abilities, these two "women" are seen to be carrying out a specific mandate of the Lord described by an angel which means they are His servants and most likely in the same group as this other servant. For all these reasons, and since in fact throughout the Bible only two categories of creatures with human-like attributes are known to exist, angels (to which class the serpahim/cherubim belong) and human beings, the conclusion that these "women" are angels has much to recommend it. On the other hand, we can't really make anything out of the absence of any astonishment on Zechariah's part evident from the text, since by this point in chapter five he has seen all manner of astonishing things without reacting in any noticeable way he may have been astonished, but the fact that this isn't noted in his report is not remarkable since he hasn't put his personal feelings in elsewhere either.
In short, I see no way to make these two creatures human. It is possible to argue that what we have here is a purely symbolic representation (in which case, I suppose, these women would be mere symbols), but given the very concrete description of these two females and their actions, it seems far preferable to me to take them for what they clearly seem from scripture to be: female angels.
Thank you for your email and for your good words.
In anticipation of the great day of Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
Just found your web site. Dont really know where to pose a question. I want to know about the two women in zech 5. I understand it does not say they are female angels but it appears that they are. If so why do you think they have wings like a unclean bird (stork). I like everything I read on your site. Too Cool.........
Good to make your acquaintance. On Zechariah 5:9, I agree that these are most likely female angels (please see the links: Are there Female Angels? and More on Female Angels). As to the stork reference, it is true that the stork is unclean, but then these women's wings are not actually stork wings; they are merely being described as "resembling those of a stork". It is not uncommon for the Bible to use comparisons to whatever best describes the point being illustrated, even when the example used is itself problematic. After all, Jesus told us to be "harmless as doves" but "wise as serpents".
Thanks for your good words about this ministry!
In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,
Thanks for responding Bob. One of the problems I have when I study Gods word is. When the word doesn't really say yes or no ( about female angels, about who Cain's wife was and where she came from etc... it forces me to speculate. When I speculate I have to draw conclusions. Although I might think my conclusion is a great one it is still only speculation. Without scripture to back it up, I can share it but I can't preach it. I really don't want to explain to someone what I think scripture means I'd rather just teach them what it says. Be Blessed
I certainly appreciate your position. What the links in the previous email provide is, I hope, somewhat more than speculative. It is always an important line to draw, namely, the difference between legitimate, deductive theology and mere personal speculation. But, after all, the former is absolutely necessary. The word "Trinity" does not occur in the Bible, but with sound theological reasoning can be shown to exist even in the Old Testament. In the wisdom of God, scripture is written in such a way as to require effort to understand. This is the case so that, except for the gospel, it cannot really be understood by unbelievers at all, and so that believers will need the help of doctrinally sound teaching in order to progress past a certain point (therefore the Body has to rely on every member rather than being a set of independent persons). The former makes clear the truly supernatural nature of God's Word, while the latter is the true basis for all genuine authority in the Church. So while I do see your point, and for that reason always try to make it crystal clear precisely where I "got what I got" and precisely why I "teach what I teach", throwing out every doctrinal construct not written word for word on these grounds would result in believers having very little to believe (so as to doom them to spiritual infancy) or to construct their own personal theologies (something very few are gifted to be able to do and far fewer prepared and experienced to do).
In my experience and observation, while this may seem to be a problem when viewed theoretically, in actual practice it is almost without exception very clear when the Spirit has shown us how to put "two and two together", and also more often than not easy to verify by any number of doctrinal tests whether the deduction is solid or not at least for those who have progressed in the Word to a certain point. Understanding God's truth is something that is built "precept upon precept, line upon line, a little here, a little there", until the critical mass achieved by putting a large number of such "bricks" together in the right place becomes to some degree its own touchstone in the power of the Spirit. So while doubters who refuse to gain "knowledge" and "understand doctrine" may mock the slow and steady approach (compare Is.28:9-10 with Is.28:11-16), that is the only way to move beyond the speculative into the realm of uncovering all the mysteries of the Word of God.
In hopes of advancing toward the goal of the full knowledge of Jesus Christ,
I suggest that Bob l. who wrote the answer to are there female angles read the whole Bible and learn to comprehend what is says. Gen. 2: 1 states that all heaven and earth and all hosts (angles) were completed at creation Job 38: 1-7 tells of the angles with GOD when he was creating everything. This was way before females were even thought of. ERGO no female angles. Angles are called SONS of GOD throughout the Bible, The two women in Zech.5:9 were METAPHORES of Babylon and the Roman Empire, a vision, not reality. The passage says women, not angles like it would if that is what it was meant to say. Check the strongs's concordance for the correct translation of the word used in Hebrew. What does it say????
If Bob l is going to give answers to Biblical questions, he shouldn't give his opinion but get the truth from the Bible. Gods word is Gods word. Nothing else.
Thank you for your email. I would ask you to re-read carefully what I have written at the link Are there Female Angels? As I say in that piece:
The question as to whether there are female angels is not specifically addressed in scripture . . .
It is certainly true that there and in other places (in SR 4 #28 and also in "More on Female Angels"; see the links), I do express the opinion that certain evidence from scripture argues for there probably being female angels because certain evidence from scripture most certainly does argue for there being female angels. My "bottom line" is not to say that there are such, but only that it is probable, given what scripture has to say that is, what all scripture has to say. On the other hand, while I am being criticized for giving my opinion that there is evidence for female angels (which there is) while adding that the matter is not made decisively clear in scripture, the alternative suggested is put as absolutely dogmatic truth (which it cannot be). How can we know absolutely for certain there are not female angels? After all, there is much we do not know about what transpires beyond our human vision.
I am happy to address your specific points. First, Genesis 2:1 is not speaking of creation but of re-creation, that is, the situation at the end of the seven days when our Lord re-made the earth and heavens following the judgment on Satan's rebellion (please see the link: SR 2: The Genesis Gap). Not that this affects the argument substantially, but it does point out that there is much in scripture that may not be readily apparent from a cursory perusal. Some of these things take serious study. I do agree that all of angelic kind was created corporately at original creation. That does seem to be what the evidence of scripture suggests, although this is just as much a derived point as the question of female angels. After all, we are never given any detail about the actual creation of the angels and there is very much about them we do not yet know (for what we do, please see the link: BB 2A: Angelology). The fact that angels were probably created all at once, however, does not mean that they were not created male and female. For example, we have the parallel of Adam and Eve's near simultaneous creation:
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
Genesis 1:27 NIV
I suppose you may mean by this argument that "because angels were created at once there was no need for procreation so there was no need for the feminine". First, that is a logical jump which no scripture supports. Believing women will still be women in resurrection even though there will be no further procreation or need thereof. And, more to the point for the purposes of this argument, men will still be men. The angels we are given to see in scripture (with the exception of Zech.5:9) are described as male. Now if there is no female, why in the world do we need a male? Why are the angels not "uni-sex"? Why are they not neuter or androgynous? The presence of the male argues for the presence of the female. It's not decisive, I freely admit, but it does have to be explained. We are right to infer certain things from what God has made because, after all, He made the universe and everything in it precisely so that it might sing His praises and tell us about Him (cf. Ps.19; Rom.1).
Yes, the angels are called "sons of God", but then the Israelites are most commonly called "sons of Israel" and we know very well that there were plenty of Jewish women. This is a Hebrew expression to denote generic category which does not exclude women from the group (as every Hebrew reader knows quite well). It may seem a bit chauvinistic, but there you are. One thing apropos of this point is that in the ancient world women were very much in the background, especially when it came to war, politics, and the administration of the state. Most of our dealings with angels in the Bible are concerned with just such activities. In other words, even if there are an equal number of female angels to male angels, it is hardly surprising that in the finite number of biblical references to them the ones we actually see would be males: because they are generally doing what males do in God's patriarchal economy (not what females do).
As to Job 38, here is what I say about that passage elsewhere (see the link: Q #4 in "Interpreting the Book of Job"):
Verses 4-6 of Job 38 are indeed talking about this original creation, and in figurative "building language". However, in verse 7 a new section begins wherein the topic is changed from the original creation to the reconstruction of the earth during the seven days of re-creation in Genesis 1:2ff. Here we see the sea restrained, order restored with a sequence of day and night, etc. The NIV at least does see the disconnect and represents it with punctuation (a dash between vv. 6-7), but fails in not beginning with a "When" with a capital "W" in verse seven (thus not making the change of subject crystal clear). Even for people who don't want to see this division which is present in the Hebrew (where a new verbal sequence begins), any other interpretation is problematic for the reason given above, namely, while verses 6-7 speak of original creation, the angels couldn't possible rejoice over that since their own creation had to post-date it: they are creatures and can only exist within the created universe.
I am quite sure that God "thought of" females before the reconstruction of the earth and before original creation. The Plan of God comprises every single thing that ever would and did and does happen in the universe, to the smallest swerve of the most minute sub-atomic particle at the end of the universe at the moment of creation and at its end. It is "not good" for men to be alone. If angels are male, and many of them are, is it "good" for them to be alone lacking companionship? I don't have the answer, but the nature of the creation as God has deliberately made it certainly argues for the need to explain away the maleness of angels if there be no females.
Finally as to taking the two women with the wind in their wings are "metaphors of Babylon and the Roman Empire", this seems to me so unbelievable on the face of it that makes my point for me: there is no easy way to explain away these "flying women" as anything other than female angels if only because there is nothing else they can easily be understood to be. Far-fetched "metaphorical" pleas like this make a person despair of every getting anything true from scripture if such is the hermeneutic employed. Metaphors are always easily identifiable in scripture and always well signaled by the text. If the women "represented" Rome and Babylon, how in the world we would be expected to get that from reading this verse? And, by the way, they are going to Babylon so how could one of them be Babylon? The two women are thus very clearly not metaphors, so that, as I say, all attempts at alternative interpretation only show by their unlikeliness that female angels probably are what we do have here.
The fact that they are called "women" and not angels is of no import to the question. They have wings and fly, which human woman cannot of course do. But that angels are sometimes referred to as "men" shows that identifying these two in Zechariah 5:9 as "women" does not mean that they are not angels, just because they are called "women".
He took me there, and I saw a man whose appearance was like bronze; he was standing in the gateway with a linen cord and a measuring rod in his hand.
Ezekiel 40:3 NIV
I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of the finest gold around his waist.
Daniel 10:5 NIV
God's Word is God's Word. Understanding it correctly requires that everything in interpretation be done "decently in order". That is the only way to "rightly divide the Word of truth".
In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior, the Word of God.
Apparently you are convinced of female angles, although you say that certain evidence from scripture argues for you. but you never list them, because they don't exist.
Chapters 1-6 of Zechariah is about him talking to an angle and the VISION that is given him. He always says, " an He said" as it always says throughout the Bible when refering to angles. Never "she said" . You would conclude that at least once the word "she " would be used if it were relevent., The VISION in 5:9 would have clerified that the two women with stork wings were indeed angles if that were the case. No where else in scripture are angles refered to as having stork wings. As for GEN 2:1 it is irrelevent as to which creation you argue, but the word HOSTS is relevnt. It is translated into Greek as TSAW-BAW which means an army/servents assembled for war. ie angles. They were created by God for service to him. There was no requirement for females in Gods kingdom when he created it. Female humans and suppose female angles are not the same and your annallogy of uni-sex serves no logical purpose. You are reaching for a reason to substanciate your argument for female angles which dosn't exist.
Your right, Gods word is Gods word if it is clarified by research and interpretation correctly, with other scripture, not by guesses and opinions, and getting the right translation to ALL words requiring there clarification to the correct meaning. Obviously you don't do that. More searching and less guessing are required to get it right. Prove the evidance or step back until you can.
In Jesus name.
1) I have said repeatedly that is it probable that there are female angels and I have given my reasons for this. I have not said that I know. You, on the other, are convinced that there are none. How do you come by this sure and certain knowledge, even though scripture never affirmatively states this and leaves us deliberately ignorant of much of what we would like to know about angels?
2) As to your assertion that I am "reaching" by suggesting as evidence the parallel creation of Man as male and female and the problematic absence of female angels when we know there are male angels, you are not answering the point. Why would angels be male (and functionally male at that; cf. Gen.6), if there were no female counterparts? The angels existed for what must have been quite some time before the re-creation of the earth and the creation of mankind. Wouldn't it have been a topic of conversation among them at least? And we know from the fossil record that the fauna of pre-Genesis gap earth was male and female (dinosaur eggs et al.). Are angels the only category of creature in God's universe which do not have a female sex (but do have a male sex)? Perhaps. But I amazed that you can say for certain this is so in the absence of biblical evidence that such is the case. The universe as God created it provides patterns whereby we learn about Him, and the male-female relationship teaches us much about our proper subordination to Him and His love for us as the Bride of Christ (Eph.5). It seems at least a bit odd to posit angels as the odd-men out (literally) in God's entire creation.
3) You have also not provided a suitable explanation for just what the two women are in Zechariah 5:9 if they are not angels. For, clearly, there are something, and they are mentioned there for a reason (everything in scripture is important). We know the woman in the measuring basket is symbolic because we are told so ("This is Wickedness"). But the basket is a real basket. It's not a metaphor or symbol of anything. The same holds true of the winged women who carry it (especially in the absence of any obvious symbolism for them).
4) Your supposition that because all of the angels who speak in Zechariah are "he" therefore somehow the women cannot be angels is irrelevant because these particular women do not speak.
5) Zechariah 5:9 does not say the women have stork wings but that they have "wings like those of a stork". Zechariah is making a comparison based upon what he saw. These are the only angel wings Zechariah is given to see, so it cannot be said that these wings are different from other angels wings (which he might also have described as stork-like).
6) As in the case of "sons", "hosts" is also used in the Hebrew Old Testament to refer to large numbers and often to an entire group of people. For example, just as in the case of "sons of Israel" including the women, so also "hosts" is used of the entire Jewish people, including the women and children:
And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.
Exodus 12:41 KJV
7) As to your statement, "There was no requirement for females in Gods kingdom when he created it", I can only reply, "Really?" That is a monster of an assumption. You are welcome to it, but I for one certainly do not find it persuasive in the least. There will certainly be females in God's Kingdom for all eternity. More than that, consider this passage:
When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.
Mark 12:25 NIV
So in eternity, mankind will be "like the angels" in "neither marrying or giving in marriage" and yet we will still be male and female. The parallel here certainly suggests at the very least that female angels are not an impossibility (and biblical principles have been successfully established on much less evidence than this).
I think the above is at least sufficient to demonstrate that characterizing the existence of female angels as "probable" is not unreasonable, but that proclaiming it as "impossible" is what is really in the realm of guesswork here.
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
I see you are a person who will never conceed to being wrong. Where is the evidence you speak of in scripture??? common sense would dictate that somewhere in scripture it would be stated that female angles exist if it were true, but nothing you say is common sense. You twist what is written into what you want it to say. What is the difference between haveing and having like. They both look the same. Also how can the basket be real when it is part of the vision??? And why would there be a need for any type of females in creation when God makes everything. Why don't you consult some pastors on their view of female angles ? All I have talk with agree that there is no evidance of them so it is a closed argument. You try to read into Gods word and make the changes/assumption that fit you beliefs. Bad choise.
In Jesus name
We don't seem to be getting anywhere, do we? It's not about being right or wrong; it's about what the Bible does or not say and mean. I have given you my opinion that the existence of female angels is probable and you are certainly free to disagree. The fact that I term the question "probable" means by definition that the scriptures do not definitively state that they exist, merely that the evidence of Zechariah 5:9 and the pattern of God's creation (along with the other points I have shared) certainly seem to me to argue for there being female angels. What I have a very real problem with is the dogmatic position that they do not exist even though scripture says no such thing.
As to common sense. Anti-Trinitarians say all the time things like "common sense would dictate that somewhere in scripture it would be stated that the Trinity exists if it were true". Of course theology makes spiritual common sense, not secular common sense. We know that the Trinity is a correct doctrine even though the word is never used and that truth not directly taught. More to the point, the Bible never says that angels were created; never describes their creation or definitively gives its timing. Yet they must have been created, though by the same arguments employed here we should be adding to scripture to suggest as much. When it comes to things that are outside of our human realm of perception like angels we only know what scripture tells us, but it is very clear from any systematic study of the topic just as in the case of the details of their creation that there is much about them we do not know (please see the link: BB 2A: Angelology).
As to "the difference between 'having the wings of a stork' and 'having wings like a stork'", it is very great indeed. A clever person may have "a mind like a steel trap"; a courageous person may have "a heart like a lion"; a swift runner may have "feet like a gazelle", etc. These are similes, not literal descriptions. The cue in English which lets us know this is the word "like". It is the same in Hebrew except that the Hebrew word is ce, and that is what we have in the passage in Zechariah. So when it says that the women had "wings like a stork" it does not mean that they had literal stork wings; it means that from Zechariah's point of view their wings resembled stork wings. That is a large difference indeed, and the significance for our discussion is that these are winged female creatures who are not human but who cannot be said to be some sort of monsters because of the stork reference. They behave like angels, and I submit to you that if they were described as men instead of women you would have no trouble identifying them as angels. They fly like angels, have wings like angels, do God's work like angels the only problem is that they are women. Maybe it's not a problem at all.
As to the basket, the point is that just because it is a vision does not mean that the paraphernalia of the vision are not meant to be taken as actual, real things. If the basket is still a basket, even though it is a vision, then the angels would still be angels, even though it is a vision. In John's vision of the trampling of the wine press at the end of Revelation chapter 14:17-20, the angel represents our Lord and the swinging of the sickle represents the slaughter of Armageddon. However the angel is still an angel and the sickle is still a sickle and the wine press is still a wine press, even though they all represent different things. We cannot say, "this is a vision, therefore wine presses (or sickles or angels) do not exist". In fact, since we see in this very example in Revelation an angel in a vision, why cannot the two women in Zechariah chapter five be angels too?
As to the "need for females". It is true that God does not need females. He also does not need males. He has no need of angels or human beings or animals. God has no need of the universe. That is part of the wonder of creation. Even though He didn't need us, yet He still created us even though by that very act of creation He did necessitate the sacrifice of His one and only dear Son our Lord on our behalf. The point is that God could have made animals, could have made human beings, and certainly could have made angels neuter or unisex or androgynous. We know that He made animals male and female. We know that He made human beings male and female. And we know that He made angels male . . . and female too, if what we are viewing in Zechariah 5:9 are female angels as I suspect. In this way His creation would be completely consistent and we would also understand more about why the other angels we do see in scripture are described as male (and functionally so as well; cf. Genesis 6). We are meant to draw conclusions from the patterns of creation about His "invisible qualitieshis eternal power and divine nature" (Rom.1:20 NIV), for example, and the didactic importance of the human family (Ex.20:12; Eph.3:15) and the male-female relationship (Eph.5:22-33) are important parallels to our relationship with Him and His Son (whose Bride we are) which teach us much (by our imperfection as compared to the ideal we all know about intuitively) about what a loving and wonderful God we are blessed to have as our Creator and Savior. The pattern would be broken and counter-intuitive if there were no female angels. It is not about need. God could create offspring without our involvement (Matt.3:9; Lk.3:8). He could obliterate gender in eternity but will not (angels are at least male, and we will be "like the angels": Matt.22:30; Mk.12:25; Lk.20:36). The fact that angels likely never procreated (again, probably and I note you accept this probability as a fact), does not therefore really bear on the question of whether or not there are females, for there are males even though males would likewise not have been necessary for procreation if all angels were created at once.
I have no doubt that you can easily find all manner of supposedly qualified and prepared individuals who will be happy to give you the answer you prefer without looking into the matter in a serious way. That is certainly the trend here in the late days of our era of Laodicea. My preference is to search diligently into all scripture says and means in a sound and sober way, making it clear why I believe what I believe, and when and where the evidence is determinative or must be qualified as "possible" or "probable". Apologies in advance if this is unacceptable to you personally, but I serve another Master.
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
2nd Timothy 2:15 NKJV
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
Sorry, but I still see no OTHER SCRIPTURES as you state that prove female angles. A lot of rhetoric and word play, but where is it written??? The word Angle in Greek is Angelos, a MASCULINE FORM. There is no FEMALE Form. Every Angle in scripture is NAMED AS SUCH, and never as something else. Why than are the women in ZECH 5 not identified as angles by the Angle showing the vision?? As for your statement that the Bible never states that Angles were created, please explain whom "all the HOST of them" are. look up host in the concordance and you will see that it discribes them completely. And keep in mind that GOD, the creator had/has no need for procreation in the Heavens and that females were created for human/man sake only. Scripture states that there is no need for marriage in eternaty and all that are there will be the same, even though they might be recognized by loved ones, but as prior family. Dogma, no. Just scriptural correct. I don't assume anything unless it is written. If God wanted it to be there, he would have inspired the writer by the Holy Spirit to put it there. I don't beleive God left any thing that is relevent to scripture left out. Things left to man's imagination in visions and symbols are not there for debate. Trying to read into the scripture for things that are not there is dangerous. Beware of its consiquences.
In JESUE NAME
The Bible only has to say something once for it to be true. The combination of Zechariah 5:9 with the other points already addressed in my opinion makes it probable that female angels exist but this evidence certainly makes it impossible to say categorically that they do not.
As to your latest observations:
1) Greek is replete with masculine nouns which are used collectively for mixed-gender groups. The word "Spartan", for example, when used in the plural, refers to all the inhabitants of Sparta (women included). The word "poet" is a masculine noun in Greek, but may be used of a woman. How do we know the difference? The feminine definite article is employed (so that ho poietes is a male poet while he poietes is a female poet, but the noun remains the same). Even the word "man", anthropos (cf. "anthropology", the study of man), is frequently employed for the feminine gender (by swapping the article). So there is no argument to be made about the gender of angels from the gender of the word angelos. The idea that because it is a masculine noun that therefore there can be no females in the group is grammatically incorrect. The word for donkey in Greek is masculine (onos), but I assure you that there are female donkeys.
2) Your observation about the angels in scripture outside of Zechariah 5:9 being masculine has been "asked and answered" several times now: a) this would not prove that there are no female angels even if we did not have Zechariah 5:9; b) angels in scripture are on God's business performing ministries that in the biblical economy almost always fall to men. Therefore it is not at all surprising that the very few angels we do see at work in the Bible should be identified as males. By the same logic of your argument the lack of female apostles should mean that human females should not exist.
3) Your observation about the women in Zechariah 5:9 not being specifically identified as angels has also been "asked and answered" several times now: since the Bible frequently describes individuals only as "men" who by their activities are clearly angels (e.g., 40:3), by the same token describing two flying, winged-women on a mission from God doing something supernatural is sufficient for anyone conversant with what the Bible has to say about angels to identify them as angels. As I say, it seems to me that you would do the same except for the fact that you object to their gender.
4) I stand by my statement that the Bible never describes the angelic creation event (it makes oblique reference to it as in Satan's creation at Ezek.28:13-15, but no details are given of the when or how of angelic creation generally). The Hebrew word tsaba', translated most commonly by the KJV as "host[s]", refers to any organized body, and not just of human beings. You seem to be thinking of Genesis 2:1 and similar passages which are speaking of the stars and other celestial phenomena, not of the angels. For one thing, the angels had to have been created well before the restoration earth during the seven days on this side of the Genesis gap (see the link).
5) As to your claim "females were created for human/man sake only", this has also been largely asked and answered before several times. In the animal kingdom, before and after the Genesis gap, that is, through two discrete creative regimes, there have always been females as well as males. You also have never gotten around to facing the intractable problem that God has created the angels as fully functional males (cf. Gen.6) which would be beyond strange if there were no female counterparts. You also have not responded to one of the arguments I personally find most persuasive, namely, the pattern in God's universe, the fact that we are meant to learn from that pattern, the fact that angels are at least half in the pattern (male, not neuter or unisex or androgynous), all of which evidence invites us to fill in the blank and assume the existence of female angels which is then confirmed by Zechariah 5:9 (at the very least probably).
6) And again, the point that we will be "like the angels" in eternity is actually another very good piece of evidence in favor of the existence of female angels, not against it. For Jesus' comments tell us quite clearly that there will be no procreation in heaven (so no marriage and giving in marriage), yet we shall still be who we are, male and female. If there is a benefit in the plan of God to retaining the female gender in human beings even when it has no procreative rationale, it seems to me reasonable to argue that the same is true of the angels. After all, we will be "like the angels" in this exact same way. So that it would certainly be reasonable to argue that it might be incorrect to say that we, mankind, will be "like the angels" in the matter of not marrying if there are no female angels. For in that case, would we really be like them? In that case, they would have no one to even consider marrying, being all males. So their situation would, in the absence of females, be completely different. As it is, we shall be "like the angels" in the matter of no marriage, which only seems to be capable of being completely true if female angels exist (with whom the males are not marrying) in my opinion.
7) As to not believing things which are not in scripture, indeed I agree. But the Bible is not a text book. It contains much important information that is not easily extracted and put into usable form by every believer the moment after they are saved. You have made use of many doctrines in the course of this exchange about which someone who does not share your views could easily say "this person is making things up which the Bible does not explicitly say". Spiritual growth beyond a certain point requires doctrinal teaching for just this reason. There is much truth in scripture which has to be "mined", so to speak. The history of the Church is at least partially concerned with the progress on this front (and lack of progress, and regression). I submit that with a little reflection you know as well as I do that doctrine has to be carefully researched and studied and subjected to just the sort of close analysis I have been attempting to share with you. This does not mean that we all have to come to the same conclusions or that I am necessarily right here (though I stand by my words unequivocally). It does mean that it is a false and dangerous position to assume that everything one believes is "scriptural" without 1) acknowledging that much of what we believe is (hopefully correctly) constructed doctrine which usually does not flow automatically from the Bible's verses without systematic development, or without 2) taking pains to test one's positions regularly. For a teacher, both propositions are essential. For anyone without the gift of teacher and without the proper preparation in biblical languages, theology, history et al., reliance on only what can be personally read in an English Bible is a sure way to stunt spiritual growth. There are many gifts in the Body of Christ. We always lose out if we are not willing to function as part of that Body.
In Jesus whose Body we are,