I noticed you denounced aliens, but I have never heard of a bible passage where Jesus, an angel or the Father ever said that aliens definitely didnt exist. Why do biblical people say that they dont exist if God never said that they dont?
It is, of course, impossible to prove a negative under normal circumstances. The world is full of fictional creatures and imaginary beings. We can't expect the Bible to name them all. So just because the Bible does not say flat out that there are no aliens from outer space is not much of an argument for their existence. And, after all, the whole idea of people living on other planets would have been incredible to the ancient world. In antiquity, the stars were seen as gods in pagan mythology and the Bible is very clear that there is only one God.
We are, however, in a position to offer a very strong series of arguments for the proposition that there are no such aliens. When Satan rebelled, God judged the universe and filled up the entirety of it with the tehom, the cosmic deep. So approximately 6,000 years ago there was not a single living thing in the entire universe with the exception of the angels. Secondly, it was the earth which benefitted from God's blessings of revitalization during the six Genesis days of reconstruction (no other planet is mentioned as receiving such an infusion of life). Thirdly and most importantly Jesus Christ became a human being, and died for the sins of mankind. He did not come, nor did He need to come, to some other planet for the benefit of some other species. The gift of Jesus Christ to us, human beings made in the image of God, is the foundation of the Plan of God, of the universe and all creation, of all history, human and angelic and certainly demonstrates that we are unique, for Christ came to help us (Heb.2:16). The existence of some sentient race of creatures on some far distant planet is thus not only physically and physiologically impossible because of the short time since the world was re-made, but also would be completely inconsistent with the whole purpose of God's Plan and the creation of mankind as an answer to Satan's rebellion (please see the Satanic Rebellion series).
As to "denouncing", this is a Bible study ministry which entertains questions from readers, and occasionally someone will ask this question which prompts an honest answer. I will say that fascination with anything false is never spiritually profitable. It's always much better to stick with what the Word of God teaches. In that spirit, you are certainly welcome at Ichthys any time. See the links:
Aliens, Antichrist and Eschatology
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and only Savior,
Somewhere I remember reading that Jesus coming in the flesh and dying on the cross was kept secret so that the Devil would not know about it. Can you help me with this? Am I in trouble? Have I asked too many questions? You are the most knowledgeable person about Bible info that I ever knew.
Good to hear from you again apologies for the delay (it's been a busy time)!
As to your question, I remember hearing some such thing in some class or other as an undergraduate many, many years ago, but I can assure you that it is not in the Bible. After all, salvation has always been the same since Adam and Eve were clothed by the Lord with the coats of skin, representing the death Jesus would have to die for their forgiveness (Genesis 3:21, the so-called protoevangelium): faith in the Person and work of the One who would be our Sacrifice. And as Paul says of the Mosaic Law, "In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness" (Hebrews 9:22 NIV). When one adds to the fact that all of the symbolism of the Law points to the death of Christ all of the verses in the Old Testament which predicted the coming of the Messiah, it seems the only way that the devil might have been ignorant about the first advent and the cross was by paying no attention to scripture. That might be the case, but he would be a pretty poor strategist if it were. After all, God has never let a single prophecy fail, so to ignore the "road map" for the plan of God would be to put himself at an even bigger disadvantage in the rebellion he has undertaken from the Lord. Perhaps these verses were the ones the person you read had in mind:
Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.
Romans 16:25-27 NIV
No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
1st Corinthians 2:7-8 NIV
I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints.
These passages all do speak of the mystery of Christ (see the link), but not in the sense your source means. The separation of the two advents and the precise nature of Jesus' sacrifice at Calvary were not fully understood until after the events took place, but anyone who was paying attention to scripture should have understood the need for Him to come in the flesh and die for the sins of the world.
[Jesus] said to them, "How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ (i.e., the Messiah) have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?" And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
Luke 24:24-26 NIV
In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
Thank you for replying.
I was concerned that I was asking too many questions, but you are the only one I know that knows so much and who has such a wonderful disposition to help one who is pressing on to know Jesus in a personal way.
Bless you my brother in Christ.
You're very welcome,
Write any time.
In Jesus our dear Lord,
Thank you for your reply, it did help, and I think I'll keep other verses 'on hand' -or at least in-mind- while I'm reading Revelation; though, this does spur another question. Why doesn't the evil one .... well, stop being evil? Does he not know he will lose, in the end? Why does he stand against God? I don't understand what would drive him to be the way he is, other than just pure and simple stubbornness? Does anyone know the answer to this question?
Another thought I had some time ago, and it had me thinking, is what about forgiveness for him? I mean, we're to fear the devil, and run away from him, but I did have a curious thought some time ago, like I said: we're to forgive everyone for everything, right? Even if they do not regret doing whatever they did to wrong us or those we love ... does this extend to him? Is forgiveness even possible for him?
This is all mostly hypothetical, and if any of these thoughts are wrong please tell me, I was just curious, that's all.
You are very welcome. To take your second question first, we human beings cannot interact with angels, elect or fallen, so there is no question of forgiving them since we cannot even see them. In any case, our Lord's words apply to other human beings only. As to the hard-heartedness of the evil one and all of the fallen angels, they have all apparently passed the point of being completely confirmed in their course of action in opposing God. Given the merciful character of our Lord, it is almost a certainty that the devil and his followers did have much time to repent and change their minds, and that God would have provided a means for reconciliation if there had been even a single taker. There was not. As I have said in other places, it is apparently in the nature of angels, given their extreme longevity and near complete knowledge of things that once they decide their decision is firm. We human beings are largely ignorant of what is really going on and can know relatively little about God, even if we devote our lives to learning about Him (what we can know is blessed and incredibly worthwhile and more than enough to fulfill the purpose for our lives, just far less than we will understand after only a few moments in His presence); we are highly emotional; and we tend to learn from experience. Even so, most human beings who decide against the Lord do not change. So there is something about this free will we and the angels share that is more resolute and powerful than most people seem to realize. When it comes to the devil, he knew and decided from a very early stage that he was not willing to share the universe with God on God's terms. That is really what going to hell is all about: the unwillingness to have anything to do with God. Unbelieving human beings are the same. They want a heaven, they want eternal life; they only don't want God around or to have to worship Him or have anything to do with Him. Neither they nor the fallen angels are grateful to Him for being created and for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Believers who ask this question as most of us do sooner or later are failing to understand the true nature of evil: arrogant disregard for any authority outside of oneself, for any limits to one's own desires, and for any sort of respect for anyone or anything else beyond one's own ego. Only raw power restrains this sort of evil and arrogance; as soon as an opportunity presents itself, all such will throw off all bonds and do as they please. After being released at the end of a 1,000 captivity in the Abyss, the devil will immediately get back to the business of opposing God (Rev.20:7-10). The same is true of all who choose against Him. In my opinion, after eons in hell, if released, all unbelievers and fallen angels would not repent.
Praise be to God for His great mercy upon us who have sought shelter in the cross of Jesus Christ!
Hello again Dr Luginbill, thank you for you last set of responses.
Once again I had a few more questions I needed some help with.
When did Satan cast a third of the stars to the earth? Was this before the birth and cross of Christ or after?
Revelation 12:4 has a double application, referring both to the one third of the angels who followed Satan in his rebellion against God before the seven days of re-construction (Genesis 1:2ff.), and also to the one third of Christians who fall away from Christ into apostasy during the Tribulation's Great Apostasy (see the link):
And [the little horn] (i.e., antichrist as a type and representative of the devil) magnified himself against the host of heaven (i.e., the family of God, men and angels both), and he cast down to the earth some of the host (i.e., antichrist seducing believers into apostasy) and some of the stars (i.e., Satan having seduced angels into rebellion) and he trampled them underfoot (i.e., their rebellion or apostasy in association with evil leading to their subsequent destruction; cf. Dan.7:7; 7:19; Rev.11:2).
Why did Michael come three weeks later to help Gabriel when Daniels prayers were delayed? Sometimes Angels appear instantly like when Peter was in prison or in balaam's case. Why are there delays sometimes?
As to angelic delays, there is a conflict going on beyond what our eyes can see, and it has been in process in its present form of the devil's opposition to God's replacement of him and his followers with saved humanity since the garden of Eden. As we can all observe, there is still tribulation in this world even though our Lord has won the victory of victories at the cross (Jn.16:33). Satan and his minions are allowed a good deal of latitude in opposing believers and in intervening in human history generally. There is restraint as well, clearly, since the easiest way for the devil to "win" this conflict would be to destroy the entire human race (please see the link: "The Restraining Ministry of the Holy Spirit" in CT 2B). He has never been allowed to do that, but in these glimpses of the unseen warfare to which you allude in the book of Daniel, we can see how this give and take works in general, with Satan's forces attempting to stop or hinder or delay or frustrate the forces of God. Job, for example, in his great distress and frustration at the goading of his poor friends, began to blame God for being unfair to him, but apart from the obvious facts that God did not allow him to be killed and eventually blessed him in the end far more bountifully than he had been blessed before, the book itself (chapters 1-2) shows us that there is more happening "out there" that the human eye can detect. Therefore we always must trust God that He is working everything out for our good, even if it sometimes doesn't seem like it. Daniel waited, and did receive his answer. Job waited too, and through some horrific testing at that. Clearly, it would have been better if he had waited just a bit longer, but then he didn't have the book of Job! We do, and we still have trouble doing the right thing when the pressure is on. There is a war on and, like it or not, remember it or not, we are very much a part of it (e.g., Eph.6:11-13). Please see the link: "Strangers in the Devil's Realm".
Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
Hello Dr. Luginbill,
Thank you for keeping up with my questions and taking your time to answer them. Things related to God or the bible are always running through my mind almost 100% of the time. The bible says that Satan is the ruler of the kingdom of the air and that he will be cast down to earth during the tribulation. A preacher said that as a result, Satan can no longer access the third heaven. In what way does this affect Satan? Does this mean that he can no longer accuse believers? How does Satan being restricted to the earthly sphere make him more of a threat then when he had access to God's throne? And what exactly does the bible mean when it refers to Satan as the ruler of the kingdom of the air?
Always great to hear from you. You are exactly right. The devil will be cast down to earth at the Tribulation's mid-point (Rev.12:9); this will prevent him from accusing believers before God any longer as was his previous custom (Rev.12:10; cf. Job 1:9-11); this also makes him more active in his direct opposition to believers as opposed to his previous indirect attempts to get God to punish us, because at that point he will be personally on earth and actively involved in operations against us until the Lord returns and has him cast into the Abyss (Rev.12:13-17); we can expect the assaults at that future time to be intense because "He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short" (Rev.12:12).
The title in Ephesians 2:2, "prince of the power of the air" is one which is descriptive of the limits of the devil's power, that is, he influences this world but there are definite limits placed by God upon his present rulership of the earth. Here is something I have written on this (in BB 2A, found in "The Limits of Satan's Control over the World"):
Ephesians 2:2 calls Satan "the prince of the power of the air", and, "the spirit who is now working in the sons of disobedience". The devil's sphere of influence proceeds from the air around us rather than proceeding from a material and visible earthly presence. He and his followers are spirits and their influence on mankind largely of a non-material nature (influencing and, occasionally through possession, compelling, but altogether invisible).
Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
I have been reading your website and find in very interesting. I am interested to know if Satan, the devil who weakened the nations, refers to the one who caused the current economic recession. Or does it mean weakened the nations down through history.
Good to make your acquaintance, and thank you for your positive comments.
As to your question, Isaiah chapter 14 is a prophecy which does refer to Satan, both to his fall and his "career". The weakening of the nations referred to in verse 12 I would take to mean both the devil's system of world administration over the entire course of human history, and specifically to his activities during the period of the Tribulation. So in general terms, any of his activities in stirring up human affairs would fall under this rubric. You can find out much more about these matters at the following links:
The Satanic Rebellion series
The Coming Tribulation series
Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,
Regarding Colossians 1:20, how should we then understand 'things in heaven'?
The peace and reconciliation of "all things" to God in Colossians 1:20 comes through Christ's victory at the cross. The conflict in angelic creation, though not over, has now been resolved (peace through Jesus' victory) and humanity has now been reconciled (forgiveness through the Substitute). Needless to say, this "peace" is only blessed and beneficial for the elect angels who did not rebel against Him, and this reconciliation is only effective for those human beings willing to accept Him. This expression of victory in the presently still raging invisible conflict is very similar in essence to what Paul says in Ephesians:
And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.
Ephesians 1:9-10 NIV
Could you explain this passage?
For the Lord will not forsake [a person] forever. Though He cause him to suffer, yet He will have compassion on him according to the greatness of His mercy. For He does not afflict [a person] from His heart (i.e., "willingly"), nor [willingly] make the sons of men suffer.
What is meant by 'willingly' here? Does it mean that in the process of divine discipline God does things He would rather not do (I assume that in the case of divine discipline it's God who is acting, and not Satan, who may be allowed to inflict the pain during, for example, the period of testing, as it was the case with Job, but please correct me if I'm wrong)?
Yes. God comports Himself toward us as a father would toward his own sons and daughters (Heb.12:7). Just as a (hypothetically good) human father would rather not punish his children, but does so for their own benefit even when the common phrase "This is going to hurt me more than it does you" is absolutely true, so God takes no pleasure in any human suffering (Ezek.33:11), especially not that of His true sons and daughters (Ps.116:15; Ezek.18:32), but does provide us with precisely the right amount of discipline both for justice' sake and for our own good in being trained in righteousness (Heb.12:11).
As to the intermediate agents of divine discipline, these may be human or angelic, or the discipline may come directly from the invisible hand of God, as illustrated by the choice given to David on the occasion of his ordering of the unauthorized census:
"Go and tell David, 'This is what the LORD says: I am giving you three options. Choose one of them for me to carry out against you.' " So Gad went to David and said to him, "This is what the LORD says: 'Take your choice: three years of famine, three months of being swept away before your enemies, with their swords overtaking you, or three days of the sword of the LORD--days of plague in the land, with the angel of the LORD ravaging every part of Israel.' Now then, decide how I should answer the one who sent me." David said to Gad, "I am in deep distress. Let me fall into the hands of the LORD, for his mercy is very great; but do not let me fall into the hands of men." So the LORD sent a plague on Israel, and seventy thousand men of Israel fell dead. And God sent an angel to destroy Jerusalem.
1st Chronicles 21:10-15a NIV
The case of Job (and many others) indicates very plainly that not all suffering is the result of divine discipline and that occasionally it may come as the result of Satanic opposition (especially in the case of believers who are making spiritual advances and giving a good witness). This is allowed as an important part of the conflict we are now in and cannot be separated from the reason why we remain in life after salvation: to demonstrate the genuineness of our faith and to win glory for God and rewards for ourselves by fighting the fight in the way the Lord would have us fight it. This refutes the devil's appeal of his sentence by demonstrating that God was perfectly merciful and just in condemning him, because the response of some human beings to God and God's mercy and justice in making that response possible (at the greatest cost through the blood of Christ) shows unequivocally that if Satan and his angels had been willing to submit and repent they too would have found mercy in a way that did not compromise justice. In His great mercy and justice, it seems God usually only allows this sort of opposition from the devil towards believers to be intense in the case of more mature believers like Job who can handle it (regardless of how well they end up actually handling it).
You wrote: '...(as evidenced by the fact that the Father's throne now resides in the third heaven...' Was the first heaven the original creation and the second the re-created Eden where Adam and Eve resided?
That is essentially correct although I place the third heaven in between the two (i.e., the place to where the elect angels and God in His manifest form temporarily went during the time between the judgment on the original earth and its re-forming during the seven Genesis days. The Seven Edens can be found at the link.
You also wrote:
As to the intermediate agents of divine discipline, these may be human or angelic
Should I assume that if no human is perfect, but can be used as an agent of discipline, so similarly not only the elect, but also the fallen angels can be used by God to discipline believers?
Yes. Any and all of the "furniture" in this world, alive or inanimate, moral or not, on God's side or not, can and is used by Him for all manner of purposes in a way in which it is often difficult for us to disentangle from our limited human perspective. But of God's employment, for example, of the devil and his minions for God's own purposes scripture leaves us in no doubt. See the link: "God's Employment of Evil Spirits".
Thank you for taking the time to respond to all of these questions. I just have a few more questions in regard to your response. The answers you gave helped me out a lot.
If Satan knows his bible (especially Revelation) and that his antichrist and false prophet will fail and that he will be cast into the lake of fire, then why does he even bother? We know Satan is wise and crafty which makes his decisions more confusing.
The thing about Satan and about all who oppose God a little or a lot is that he and they and we all "know" that God is God, and that being God He is perfect and perfectly righteous and all-powerful. So it makes no more sense for an unbeliever to ignore Him or for a believer to commit a small personal sin than it does/did for the devil to rebel against Him. Arrogance is behind all opposition to God. Arrogance blinds the eyes of us all and hardens our hearts. Believers check themselves through fear of God and through confession of our sins when we do err and through painful endurance of divine discipline when we wait to long to do so or when we stray too far. But the more arrogant a person is or becomes, the more outrageous his/her behavior has the potential to be. Satan became so enamored of himself that he actually believed he had come up with a plan to "out-smart" God! Otherwise, not only would he not have rebelled in the face of sure and certain defeat but he also would never have been able to convince the fallen angels that his plan was likely to succeed. This is "stupid" in the extreme, but it is the kind of "stupid" which only comes from incredibly smart people/creatures who have willfully befuddled their own wits through becoming exceptionally arrogant. If Satan had "gotten it", he would never have rebelled. If he had "gotten it" later, he would have thrown himself on the mercy of the Lord. No doubt he still thinks he can "pull it off" once the Tribulation begins (and when this fails he will of course try one last time at the end of the Millennium; see the link: "The Gog-Magog Rebellion"). This is all mostly written up in part 1 of the Satanic Rebellion series (see the link).
Why is the Judgment of Satan delayed?
While scripture does not say directly, the fact that angels of both the elect and fallen stripe have a great interest in what happens on earth in the world of human beings makes it clear enough that mankind's creation was a direct response to the rebellion of the devil (see the link: "Angels are learning about God's plan of salvation by observing us"). In my view of these things (and not mine only: I first heard it from Col. Thieme and have since seen the hypothesis ratified by scripture many times), human history, while providing a replacement for the devil and his fallen angels on a one for one basis with believers in the Church (and a double portion through believers in the Millennium), also is acting as a sort of "appeals process" for the fallen angels. They are already condemned along with their diabolical leader, but part of Satan's method in keeping them loyal is his contention that God could not / cannot provide any sort of solution once rebellion was effected. The fact that all saved mankind is saved only after being condemned, saved through the blood of Jesus Christ, puts the lie to Satan's assertion: if he or any of his followers had been willing to return to the Lord, God certainly could have found a way for their reconciliation, just as He has for mankind and human history is proving that every day whenever anyone is saved (see the link: in SR 2, "God's answer to Satan").
Why can't Satan and his angels repent?
They do have free will. There was, apparently, a window of opportunity for their repentance (see the link: "God's last olive branch"). Satan and company were not immediately judged when they rebelled. Their machinations on planet earth apparently went on for a very long time before God finally blacked out the universe and inundated it in water and darkness. Throughout that entire period, there is no indication that the devil or any of his followers came back to the Lord. After their plans were completely upset, and after Satan's contention that God could not judge them because of the rift in the perfect family of God such a judgment would entail was refuted by events (see the link: "Satan' s coup d'etat"), waiting for however long in darkness for God's wrath to fall upon them should have been an indication that seeking His mercy now at last was the only rational thing to do. But when God restored the universe during the seven days and created another creature with free will made in the image of God a very clear means of replacing Satan and the fallen angels in God's family instead of seeking mercy, Satan determined to frustrate God's plan of replacement and restoration. He could have repented, as could any of his followers, but he refused to do so. It does seem from what scripture has to say that angels, since they are not subject to emotional ups and downs nor are they limited in perception as we are and, after all, they have also been around for many thousands of years (at least) before any of us came on the scene, make up their minds "once and for all" and all the more irreversibly to the extent that the decision is better informed and more deeply considered than any human decision has ever been (see the link: "The Nature of Angels"). And if it seems hard to fathom that a third of angelic kind refused God's mercy, consider that the vast majority of the human race has and will continue to do so all the way to the end of the Millennium, even after experiencing personally the perfect rule of Jesus Christ (e.g., Rev.20:7-10). I don't know what the percentage of those saved is throughout human history, but is certainly well below 1% of all who have ever lived who are willing to accept the Lord Jesus. If mortal creatures of very limited life spans who are aware not only of their mortality but also of their sinfulness and of God's perfection are for the most part unwilling to repent so as to escape the grave and an eternity in hell, it should not seem impossible that one third of the angels chose their own ways as well. There is much more about free will and the decision to accept Jesus Christ in part 4B of Basics: Soteriology.
An even more interesting question, why would they not want to repent if given the chance and knowing the consequences in full?
I think I have probably dealt with this above. Why wouldn't every human being want to embrace the only solution to life after death, even with death staring them in the face at every turn? The answer to this with human beings is that the average person is unwilling to submit to God in any way, even though the consequences for this stubborn independence are so horrible and what God is asking is so small: not even to do anything but only to accept the One who did everything: salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. For the fallen angels too, submission to God's WILL at the price of any restriction of their own will is something they are unwilling to do. It is certainly "crazy", but just as God allows "plausible deniability" for human beings to be able to function as if they were immortal even though they know they will die, so with the angels it seems certain that their arrogant decision has rendered their minds capable of distorting the truth that they have no chance and that the lake of fire is inevitable. Like human beings who have no use for God, they have a sort of false "hope" but that "hope" is grounded in lies, untruths and self-delusion. These things are "problems" the way you and I see it because we are operating on the truth, but when we were unbelievers we likewise said "no problem" until God made the truth clear to us and in fear of God we embraced His mercy and salvation from perdition through faith in Jesus Christ our Lord.
As for humans that reject Gods free gift of salvation in Jesus Christ, why would they not accept such a gift? Who ever rejects free things anyways and especially if it is eternal life with their maker? What's in it for the none believers to reject Christ and spend eternity in hell? Why would they not want to be saved?
Salvation does require something. True, what God requires of us is both effortless and non-meritorious, but it does nonetheless require something most human beings are loath to do, namely, accept God's Substitute, the One who made salvation free for the taking for all willing to receive Him and His work through faith. We do have to believe, and that belief is a sort of "pledge of allegiance" to God and subordination of our will to His. Believers in Jesus love Jesus, follow Jesus, obey Jesus. Those who do not accept Him do not do so largely because they have no intention of loving, following or obeying anyone but themselves. They would rather be "their own boss" in hell than God's servants in heaven. That is why Satan revolted; that is why human beings refuse to repent. It is a matter of free will. It is a matter of choice. Unbelievers have no intention of modifying their behavior for God in any way, and the proof of that axiom is that they are unwilling to do even the simplest thing, the easiest thing, the most effortless and non-meritorious thing in accepting Jesus as their Savior, acknowledging Him and His work on their behalf and ours in dying for the sins of the world. Sad to say, but it may be just as well too, because for those unwilling even to do this simple thing, believe in Christ, there is little chance of them remaining faithful when troubles come on account of the Word (cf. Matt.13:20-21).
Why are the angels so interested in human affairs? I know that partially they learn about God through his interactions with us. Its written that they sang with joy when we were created and they also rejoiced at the birth of Christ.
Angelic interest in human affairs is a result of what we have been discussing above. Human beings are replacing fallen angels one for one and the last slot in Christ's Church will be filled before our Lord returns at the Second Advent. Satan's interest is therefore clear: if he could somehow stop all this from happening, God's plan would be frustrated and, theoretically, he and his followers would thus avoid the execution of the sentence against them. God's plan has to work thoroughly and perfectly for the devil and his angels to be cast into the lake of fire, so they are a motivated lot. The elect angels are conversely also interested as followers of the One true God and in their efforts to accomplish His plan. But there is also another dimension. Since elect angels need no mercy, and since fallen angels are unwilling to accept it, the human experience in terms of its most important aspect, namely, our relationship to the Lord, is fascinating to them. We human beings learn nearly from day one the critical issues of mortality, sin and judgment and our choices relating thereto. We who turn to God learn early on the great value of His mercy, and the need to respond to Him. We go through many ups and downs the angels could never experience. They cannot know pain, they have no similar ignorance of what is going on in heaven, they do not die, etc. But by watching us, believers in particular, and by observing God's mercy to us in spite of our errors and our response and growth in Him in spite of the opposition we face from the world the flesh and the devil, they are learning about grace, about mercy, and about the incredible goodness of God in a way that would otherwise not be possible for these self-sufficient creatures of light: they are learning about His faithfulness to us in our weakness, and about the great value of faith in an environment of relative ignorance of the truly important spiritual dimension (please see the link: "The Angels are Watching Us").
Why were they so happy at our creation? Why were they rejoicing at the birth of Christ if he came for sinners and to provide salvation? If Angels can't repent and have no salvation, then why the interest in Christ, the church and human affairs?
Satan had blasphemed God and by association called the elect angels foolish. God had destroyed the universe, inundating it with water and plunging it into darkness. The entire family of God had had its harmony shattered. The elect angels were and are very desirous of complete restoration of peace, of a total replacement of what was lost and of the end of conflict and contention. Mankind is the answer to all these desires, and specifically in the birth of the God-Man Jesus Christ whose work on the cross was an essential part of the plan of God before the universe was ever made: to create a perfect universe required moral creatures with free will; that entailed the necessity of some rebelling and of some (of a different class) responding to His mercy so that all in His eternal family might be there by choice, and that all who did not wish to be a part of it would be justly excluded, having been given every fair chance (being excluded by self-selection for exclusion). For all this to transpire, angels had to be complemented by mankind, and that meant, given our limitations and the sin that was therefore sure to come, Jesus had to become a human being (as well as God) and die for our sins. The elect angels are and have been watching all this and participating in it and are just as desirous as we are of God's final victory (which victory is being wrought through Man and the God-Man). Only once the battle is done will there be complete reconciliation, peace, and blessedness alone for all eternity. I highly recommend the Satanic Rebellion series, the Coming Tribulation series, and parts 2A: Angelology, and 4B: Soteriology of the Basics series for the details and background to the points made above (see the links).
I've always wondered why Satan tempted Eve and not Adam. Do you think their was a reason Satan did not tempt Adam directly? Furthermore, would things have been different if only eve eat of the fruit and not Adam? Or if one of Adams children eat of the tree of knowledge and not Adam and Eve? Lastly, what was Satan's reason for tempting Jesus in the Desert? What was he trying to accomplish?
Satan hit the vulnerable target and the one he knew would fold under pressure. Adam understood the consequences of his actions and was not about to disobey God for nothing. Eve had clearly not paid proper attention to the lessons about the tree (she gets certain facts wrong and Satan then uses these against her). But Adam had a weakness too: Eve. When push came to shove, Adam chose Eve out of the garden rather than God in the garden, so great was his love for her. Satan had observed how these matters stood over many years of careful intelligence gathering and launched the perfect counterattack. But this God had not only foreseen it was necessary for the plan of God to progress to its successful conclusion. In my estimation, Adam would never have eaten without Eve eating first, and since the temptation occurred some 40-50 years after their creation (as we are in a position to conclude based upon the genealogies of Genesis 5 and the 7 millennial day structure of human history), no doubt God was not willing to allow conception before this point. As with all hypotheticals which might have no solution, God does not / did not allow them for just that reason. However, given that Satan was no doubt convinced that rather than seeking God's mercy, he would be justified by his success in tempting mankind into sin and yet has been completely undone precisely through the very process of history he initiated thereby, God is certainly capable of making everything come out right even if we do not now see how: a good lesson for us all when it comes to impossible testing in our lives (He is able to part unpartable seas, after all). Finally, if Satan could have gotten Jesus to fail any one of the three tests he put Him to, Satan would have "won". Of course it was impossible we see that now clearly with the eyes of faith but to Satan it seemed possible, and he gave it his best shot. Such is the blindness of arrogance. Q.E.D.
Here are some links on these two topics:
Christ's testing in the desert.
The Temptation in the Wilderness.
It seems that the delay of Satan's judgment by God and Satan's claim that God can not confront or judge his sin, go hand in hand. Is part of the reason God chose to delay Satan's judgment, an actual test for the angels to see who would believe God and who would follow Satan? If it is impossible for God to lie, how could they bring themselves to take such a risk in following Satan? Unless the lines were already drawn by the time God pronounced his judgment in the garden of eden.
My understanding of these matters (set out in part 1 of the SR series; see the link) is that the first Eden, or the universe before Satan's fall, probably went on for some considerable time in perfection, and we are not in a position to say just how long. The angels had/have the ability to choose, but their process seems to be one of throwing a switch which cannot (or at least will not) be un-thrown (also analogous to a wedding vow which, theoretically, is a "once and for all" proposition as well). Moreover, the angels made their decisions as to whether or not follow Satan or remain true to God based upon a full consideration of the "facts" which took place over a much longer period and was much more detailed than we can imagine, so with all the more reason this decision is/was set once made. Satan's fall took place before the present world order we see was in place, and the judgment upon the universe which followed also, it seems, did not occur immediately. So there appears to have been a (probably) long period in the perfect original universe before Satan's fall, and then another (probably) long period after Satan's fall before God's judgment of him and his angels along with the concomitant judgment of the universe. The purpose of the former pre-fall period would have been to allow all the angels to make an informed judgment as to whether or not they were willing to continue serving the Lord. The purpose of the latter post-fall-pre-judgment period will have been 1) to allow a sufficient time for Satan to seduce those not willing to serve the Lord, 2) to demonstrate what Satan's "rule" over the earth would mean (I have speculated elsewhere, for example that the dinosaurs et al. are more than likely products of genetic manipulation of the earth's original fauna by the devil and his crew), and 3) to allow a sufficient period for repentance. As I say, due to the nature of angels, their longevity and more complete information, repentance from true motivations was unlikely and, in the event, not forthcoming. As long as the fallen angels believed Satan's self-deluded plans to be able to remain independent from God without being destroyed, well, they were more than happy to be "liberated" from the will of God.
You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones.
Ezekiel 28:14-16 NIV
You spoke about Satan's claim that God would be unwilling to compromise the perfect compliment of beings in his family (universally). Can you elaborate more on what the perfect complement of Gods creation is? I'm just guesstimating, but are you saying that God created a full aspect of different personalities (every function that humans would chose) i.e., everyone being a piece of an enormous puzzle? Together we make up a full spectrum of every choice that could or would be made within Gods limit (what he's willing to allow) of creation?
Yes, that is exactly it, and very well put. Just as light has a perfect and complete spectrum and would not be "light" were any small part of it removed, so also it is with angelic kind and with human kind. In terms of the human race, we are conditioned by secular and scientific views to see each human being as biological byproduct and I note that is sadly true even among Christian groups who in their zeal to combat the horror of abortion commit the heresy of proclaiming human life as merely biological, whereas there is no true human life without the immaterial human spirit which God creates and implants in every human being at birth and not before. God knows everything and knew everything before He initiated creation; He ordained the end from the beginning and all that is in-between. He marks the fall of every sparrow and numbers every hair on our heads certainly He knows the full number of human beings from Adam and Eve to the last person born in the Millennium: He created/creates them all. God's plan, moreover, is absolutely perfect. Even the imperfection of this world brought about our own sinful conduct is part of the perfection of how He is working everything out for good: without free will, there would be no perfect plan, because the perfect plan entails the final perfect eternity being inhabited by those who choose for God with those who choose not to have any part of Him being excluded. And free will necessitates sin, because some (and in the case of human beings "most") will choose their own ways and be unwilling to respond to God's Way, Jesus Christ. That being the case, since His plan is the one perfect plan, since it was known and decreed by Him in its every minute detail before He initiated creation, the number of human beings actually created by Him is the perfect number. I have more on all this in BB 4B: Soteriology (see the link).
How did Satan blaspheme God? Does it have anything to do with his aspirations (i.e., Isaiah 14 what he said in his heart).
In order to be "safe" in his rebellion, the devil needed to bring as many other angels into his conspiracy as possible. His blasphemy of God is continual. He is "a liar and the father of lies", and every time he contradicts God with one of his lies that is certainly blasphemous. He apparently maligned God in the beginning by claiming that God was unfair to deny angels physical bodies (see the link in SR 1: Satan's Revolutionary Platform). When he and his followers were judged and condemned for their rebellion, he apparently maligned God again saying, in effect, that a truly loving God would never condemn His own creatures to the lake of fire and this was the assurance that he had given those he seduced, namely, that destroying them would make a rift in the family of God which was incompatible with God's character of peace and perfection. Satan was wrong both about the latter and the former, and mankind is putting the lie to each of these blasphemies. By creating mankind, God is demonstrating that He can be just in judgment and at the same time loving and merciful: for mankind needs to respond to that love and mercy in order to avoid judgment and God has provided the means to do so in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ! Further, it is through this very process of salvation through faith in Christ that Satan and his minions are being replaced one for one by the Church, and will actually be "doubled" by the millennial believers (who constitute the double portion of the Messiah; see the link). As is always the case, with our blessed Lord what follows judgment is a restoration and a replacement of all that was lost which is better than what was lost in the first place and the New Jerusalem in the New Heavens and Earth will be better than the original Eden which Satan's revolt brought to an end. Please see the link: "Judgment, Restoration and Replacement": part 5 of the Satanic Rebellion series.
Why did God use Adam's rib to form Eve? What is the significance to the way God chose to form Eve?
I can't think of a better way to illustrate the principle of marriage being one of joining of two individuals into "one flesh". This demonstrates marvelously how that the woman is a gift to the man from God and that neither is complete apart from the other. And of course this is more than just a mere illustration it is how God has actually made the two sexes.
8 For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; 9 neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. 10 It is for this reason that a woman ought to have authority over her own head, because of the angels. 11 Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. 12 For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God.
1st Corinthians 11:8-12 NIV
The depth of the (ideal, Edenic) relationship is evident from the first love poem in human history, namely, Adam's response to the presentation to him by the Lord of Eve (see the links in SR 3: "Adam's love poem to Eve", "The devil's strategy", and "the creation of Eve").
Why did God punish those who tried to build the tower of Babel? Reading this Genesis story is hard to understand the wickedness involved in building this tower. In our culture today, towers are built all the time. Does it have anything to do with them trying to reach heaven? Or being remembered and not wanting to spread over the earth like God told them?
Yes, but there is more. Satan was behind this effort to promote an enduring one-world government which would have one unified religion of which the tower was a key part. This effort, organized by Nimrod (whose name means "let us rebel") would have made worshiping the One true God impossible; whereas the nationalism which resulted from the breakup of the original single language into many groups has over time guaranteed that no one person or group or race or nation has been able to so dominate the world under Satan's leadership so as to be able to snuff out faith. That is one reason why the Tribulation will be so horrible, namely, because of antichrist's one-world government and the damage he will be able to do to believers as a result of controlling the entire world. There is much more about this at the following link: in SR 5: "Satan's postdiluvian attack on human freedom (the Tower of Babel)".
Why is faith so pleasing to God? Is it a matter of us believing he is good? If so, why would our perception of God be so important to him as opposed to works and good deeds? I know our works can be like filthy rags in his sight, seeing that he if far above any comprehension of perfection. Why are we justified by faith and declared righteous by it? In essence, why is faith so important?
Faith is the essential expression of our free will. When we believe in Jesus or in any of God's truths, we are choosing to esteem Him as true in spite of the lies of the devil's world and in spite of what we can see and hear. Exercising our faith is the way we give proof of things unseen, as it says in Hebrews 11 (and that whole chapter as you know is concerned with this issue). Faith is all about choice and choice is all about faith, and making choices, for or against God, is why we are all here. Whenever we choose in faith, it glorifies God, because it is a response of acceptance, obedience, and trust in Him, the One in whom we have placed our faith for eternal life. There is much more about this at the link: "Free will faith and the will of God".
Why did Satan appear for the body of Moses?
The devil is well-versed in eschatology and he knows/knew that Moses would be one of the two witnesses who evangelize Israel during the Tribulation. Along with Elijah, Moses' physical body has been divinely preserved so that it may be resuscitated (temporarily, like Lazarus, as opposed to being resurrected like our Lord's body) in order to carry out his last mission. See the links: "the two witnesses" and "who are the two witnesses?"
Are seraphs and cherubs of different rank and creation? Does one outrank the other? I've notice to association with God's mercy seat and cherubs being there or near any replication of God's worship. Is there any reason for this? Also, was Satan associated with the worship of God's original throne?
Cherubs and Seraphs are different names for the same order of elect angel (see the link in BB 2A: Angelology: "The Cherubim"). Satan was the cherub before his fall, uniquely and individually gifted with the highest office of those created, the symbolic protection of the holiness of God. Now that he has violated that pledge, the office has been made into a college of four.
Does Satan take on personifications to rule the earth as in Ezekiel 28?
Ezekiel 28 is speaking about Satan prophetically, using the king of Tyre in verse 12 as a type of the devil. So this is a matter of prophetic typology (rather than any assumption by the devil of this individual's office or persona). See the link, in CT 1: "Typology and Sequence in Old Testament Prophecy".
Who are the 4 living creatures and why do they have 4 faces?
The four creatures are the four cherubs/seraphs (see the link given directly above). The four faces represent different aspects of the Person of Jesus Christ. This is discussed and explained with diagrams (without which it is somewhat difficult to understand) at the link: The Number of the Faces of the Cherubs.
I've been reading my bible for years and I sometimes find, with more answers comes more questions. I find the KJV, NKJV and the amplified bible help me the most in my studies. Which bible translations would you recommend?
They all have their strengths and weaknesses. I read the NIV more than any other and listen to the KJV more than any other, but I often consult a variety of other versions. The NKJV is quite good, in my opinion. For comments, see the link: "Versions and their Veracity". And you might also check out the Subject Index for individual versions.
Who are the 12 princes that God promised to Ishmael? Could Ishmael be the father of the Muslim genealogy?
Islam is a religion whose adherents are of all manner of races, whereas Ishmael's progeny was racial. Even among the more easily identifiable 70 nations of Genesis chapter 10, trying to come up with any modern template which even approaches present reality is nigh-on impossible. For these 12 descendants of Ishmael I think only God knows where they are at present in terms of national distribution.
On a personal level, how do you manage the time to study, read emails and teach? I can imagine you read your bible daily, maybe in Greek and Hebrew also to stay sharp. How many chapters a day do you read? Also, do you read the bible in chronological order or a mixture of old and new testament and what do you suggest? Have you thought about writing books? I think a lot of people could benefit from your style of writing and the way you present biblical information.
Thanks for your help.
As to your final questions, yes, I do make it a point to read the Bible every day in English, Greek and Hebrew not as much as I would like, but I do try to be consistent in doing it almost every day. That is also how I manage to get done what needs to get done, that is, the slow, steady approach of plugging away one day at a time: a marathon rather than a series of sprints. As to books, there are a number of reasons why I have not put these materials out in the traditional way (see the link: "Ichthys Books?"), but, in truth, most of the major studies really are books, only electronic ones. I.e., one of the more recent major posting, BB 4B Soteriology, is over 74,000 words. Readers are certainly welcome to put the PDF files on a "Kindle" or other device, or even print them out for themselves. Personally, I enjoy reading them online.
Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,