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Angelic Issues VI: Cherubs, Guardians, Elders and 'gods'

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Question #1:  

"Beware that you don't look down on any of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels are always in the presence of my heavenly Father." Matthew 18:10

Also, my mother shared with me a beautiful prayer: 'Lord Jesus Christ son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'

Response #1: 

I certainly do think that there are specific angels assigned to individual believers this verse seems to me to make that clear. What it doesn't say is that there is one or only one, and that such an "only one" hasn't had and won't continue to have other assignments in the future (we are only here individually for a very short time in comparison to the 7,000 years of human history). About these things we can only speculate (and it should be added that much popular speculation about these matters clearly goes too far). For what I have written about this see the links:  "Angelic Oversight (in BB 2A)" and "Guardian Angels then and now".

It's a nice prayer (seems to be based on the tax-collector's prayer at Luke 18:13).

Have a merry Christmas if I don't speak with you again before then!

In Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #2:  

Thank you, Professor. The next few weeks I will be making all the preparations. I know that keeping the sense of perspective is very important here. Firstly, even though much needed, these are only earthly provisions and I know that God is giving them for me to have sustenance while making progress in preparation for the ministry He has prepared for me. Secondly, things sometimes change quickly, particularly in football. So I will do wisely not to set my heart on these things. Nevertheless Professor, I am only a human being and it's hard for me not to feel the excitement. To have sustenance, to have my own place were things so distant for years that now when God is granting them it is hard to describe the joy. I am so thankful. Regarding the last set - just one question got lost:

Matthew 18:10 (NIV1984): "See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven."

Since our Lord says "their angels", could this be taken to mean that we each have an angel observing us?

Response #2: 

Sounds wonderful, my friend! If anyone can pass the "prosperity test", I have confidence that you can.

As to the lost question, this is indeed the "proof text" for the guardian angel concept. And I have not doubt that these "ministering spirits" (Heb.1:14) look after not only believers but all those who have been sanctified as prospective believers (1Pet.1:2). The question is whether the pronoun probably used as a possessive, "their" (Greek auton, αὐτῶν, "of them"), can bear so much weight. After all, human beings live for only a short time, but angels have been around since the beginning of creation (apparently). Are we to assume that each believer has an angel but that this angel only looks out for said believer (so that the time of superintendence for the angel in question is only a small fraction of history and the angel is otherwise unemployed or employed elsewhere)? Perhaps. However, I would imagine that certain believers, Moses, for example, have been in need of a good deal more support that a single angel. On the other side of the coin, if calculations presented in the Satanic rebellion series are correct, believers of the Church do replace fallen angels one for one (and I have said elsewhere that I believe scripture suggests that at the resurrection each of us will be responsible for depositing the demon we are replacing in the Abyss; see the link), which means that there are two elect angels for every believer from Adam until the second advent. And if we posit a guardian angel also for each one of the "friends of the Bride", namely, the double portion of Christ, the millennial believers, then that would indeed leave a one for one correspondence in number between elect angels and believers of the Church. So I would not be surprised if there was a one for one relationship, even though the plurals used by our Lord, "the angels (pl.) of them (pl.) do not necessarily indicate reciprocal assignment. Here is what I write about this in BB 2A:

2. to Believers (as ministers of God): Much extra-biblical speculation exists on the topic of "guardian" angels. What we can say for certain is that scripture does indicate a definite role for angels in the protection, guidance and oversight of individuals (see especially Gen.32:1; 2Ki.6:16-17; Ps.91:11-12; Dan.6:22; Matt.4:11; 18:10-11; Lk.16:22; Act 12:15; Heb.1:14).

I also have opined about the matter at this link: "Guardian angels?"

On angelic observation generally, see the link: "Angels are watching us"

I'm very excited for your future as well especially in regard to the ministry Christ has for you.

Your friend in Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #3: 

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

John MacArthur said that whenever ever angels make their appearance in the bible, they appear as men. He then said that since angels are spirits, the only way they can appear as men is to possess a man because they need a body. If this is the case, how does this occur? Do they just choose bodies? This seems a little bizarre to me. There are instances in the bible when angels appear, they are garbed in blazing white robes. This seems strange; is this is just a human possessed by a spirit of an angel. So does the angel possess a human and decided to put on blazing white robes? And if angels appearances are spirits possessing men, then why not women? All of them seem to appear in the form of a man. Could it be that when they enter the physical world, they take on physical bodies, but not necessarily the bodies on human beings?

Were the Nephilim mentioned in the OT just men? John Macarthur said that the union of fallen angels and men produced "might men", but they were still "men", that is, they were 100% human. He further stated that the words "mighty men" and "giants" did not refer to their physical appearance but there reputation and status above others. Is this correct? Seems odd since the humans referred to themselves as "grasshoppers" in the sight of these giants if they were not physically large.

God Bless,

Response #3: 

Angels are spirits, but that does not mean that they have no shape or what we would call "substance". That is a classic misunderstanding of the "material / non-material" opposition that comes down to us through traditional medieval and scholastic philosophy, but it is not biblical. The shape angels have is the shape they have. They are not "blobs" who only resemble human beings when they appear to us. They are limited in time and space and recognizable one to the other. That should be obvious from scripture. MacArthur's position (which is completely wrong and dangerously misleading if you are reporting it correctly) is clearly only a deduction based upon his misunderstanding of what the word spirit "must mean" to his human-logic way of viewing the problem. For more on this please see the link: "The Nature of Angels".

As to the nephilim, they are material, but they are not entirely human since they are half angelic in origin. How that works out in terms of DNA is not something we cannot know. The Bible, of course, doesn't even address the idea of DNA, and it is not as if science knows everything there is to know about the subject. For one thing, human beings only become "alive" in the biblical sense when the human spirit is placed into the body by God at the point of physical birth science knows nothing of this and wants to know nothing of this. Here are some helpful nephilim links:

Nephilim, Fallen Angels, and Genesis 6

Giants and Nephilim

The Paternal Origin of Antichrist (Satan's Seed)

And, p.s., the passage you are referring to, Numbers 13:33, comes from the cowardly report of the ten spiritually hard-hearted scouts who opposed Joshua and Caleb after spying out the land. Their report about "giants" is a deliberate exaggeration given in order to dissuade their fellow Israelites from following God's command to rise up and take possession of the land. The Canaanites, some of them anyway, were tall of stature, but they were not nephilim or rephayim or giants that is only the wild ranting from spiritually bankrupt men.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #4:   

God bless Robert,

I have just read your commentary on the Elders in Revelation and I believe you hit it on the nail. At first, I dismissed it because I knew you came from a post-trib view. Most of the analysis I read including from many of bibles have the notion that these Elders are the church?

I concurred until reading your analysis and two questions came in my mind after praying and asking the Holy Spirt for guidance.

1. If it is the Church, who are the 24 Elders in the church? It has to consist of individuals. I have not found a suitable answer. Some say it consists of apostles and 12 tribe of Israel but usually God is specific when dealing with exact numbers.

2. Also if it is the church, than how can on reconcile Rev 11:18 where the Elders are praying for rewards for saints and prophets if they have already received their rewards?

Can you elaborate. God bless you

Response #4: 

Thanks for the email and for your vote of confidence. I agree with your points entirely. There are abundant reasons why the elders must be angels and can't be human beings, both negative (as in your two points) and positive (as in the structure of the angelic hierarchy; on that last point please see the link: BB 2A: Angelology).

I have had objections to the position before and have put it forward with more details at the following links which you probably have not yet come across (the CT series is long enough without including everything):

The 24 Elders

More on the 24 Elders

Please have a look at these links and do feel free to write back if you have further questions.

Your Christian "brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ",

Bob L.

Question #5: 

Dr. Luginbill,

I have finally had the chance to read through all your links and your email multiple times and I know you're right. I have never questioned the existence of God so I have begun stepping out in faith and just focusing on the basics, like the Nicene Creed, etc. With my OCD, my brain tends to pick apart every phrase, letter & punctuation of anything that I read so I am fighting to just not let my brain go there, right now.

I do believe that I am under spiritual attack (which to me is odd because I wasn't do anything amazing for the kingdom or anything overtly wrong ... just living my life and being a believer), and I wanted to posit a question or two. I have found a very simple devotional to read every day and then I look up the scriptures for myself and try to see them in the context of the scriptures before & after. I have been playing Christian music a lot for positive messages in my environment and I have memorized a few scriptures/concepts that I find comforting so I can have something to meditate in the very worst moments of the day.

I then remembered something that I read on your site about angels (fallen & elect) being interested in the temporary world and that they observe human behavior. I am so sick, right now, that any "being" watching me would see that I have reached the bottom of hopelessness & that I've completely fallen apart, so I started saying scriptures/comments out loud instead of thinking them. Then I started "crossing" myself & verbally Thanking God for all circumstances (1 Thess 5:18). After I recite the scripture, I actually say "I choose to thank God in all circumstances" and then thank him for something on my mind or my actual situation.

I feel comfort for about five minutes and then it is gone. In all honesty, since I started doing these things, my situation has gone from "worse" to "even more worse". I'd rather not go into the specifics but my docs tell me that if I wasn't on meds (which we are continually tweaking), then I'd be hospitalized.

One of the biggest issues with OCD (I have been diagnosed as obsessive compulsive disorder & obsessive compulsive personality disorder) is intrusive thoughts just popping into your head and you believe them, no matter how bizarre. Since I started doing the things I told you about, I am having extremely bizarre thoughts/ideas/conclusions that are as bad as it gets and I'm shocked that my brain has the capability to think these thoughts. Even much more ... would I actually carry them out?

So here come the questions:

I know God is omniscient, omnipotent & omnipresent but I don't believe that the angels (fallen or elect) can know what's in my mind or my heart but that they CAN observe behavior and get a good idea of what's going on.

Am I correct?

Are angels always around everyone or just sometimes? Can they see & hear what I'm doing and what's going on in my surroundings. For example, can they read this email as I'm typing it to you? (The reason I ask is because I have tremors from some of the meds that I'm taking and typing is not easy; however, this email is taking me forever to get typed because my fingers will not hit the right keys no matter how hard I try).

Can they insert thoughts into my mind?

I know that this email is long and I appreciate your taking the time to consider my questions and for your prayers.

Sincerely,

Response #5: 

It's good to hear from you. I have been keeping you in my prayers, and I very much hope that you are getting the care you need and will soon be making serious progress with your recovery.

The only thing I personally recommend when it comes to navigating this world is spiritual growth. Praying and reading scripture are important elements of that process, but accessing and believing and applying good Bible teaching is the sine qua non of moving forward in the Lord.

As to your set of questions, no one can see your thoughts or control your thoughts. It is true that there is a spiritual warfare dimension of the Christian life which is very important, strategically speaking. But we are "foot soldiers" down here in the trenches, slogging it out for Jesus Christ. We cannot even see the angelic warfare swirling around above us, much less have any direct interaction with it. We are being observed, but so is everyone else on the planet and that has been the case since the garden of Eden and will continue to be so until our Lord's second advent return. For these reasons, the best thing to do is, while being aware of this truth, to operate without worrying about it, especially if you find it troublesome remembering that much of that observation is by agents of God who are protecting us (Matt.18:10). More important is that fact that you are indwelt by God the Holy Spirit, and that the devil and all of his minions put together are no match for Him:

Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
1st John 4:4 KJV

Here are some links that may also be of some solace and guidance to you:

Christians and Mental Illness

Strangers in the Devil's Realm

Who Controls our Thoughts and Emotions?

The Battlefield Within: Fighting the inner spiritual Struggle.

Please do feel free to write me back any time you are in my prayers day by day.

In Jesus Christ in whom we have already won the victory,

Bob L.

Question #6:  

Hi,

The other day I was struck with a question - "Are angels saints?" This came to me as I turned to the Catholic network and they were praying some prayers to Saint Michael the Archangel. I am familiar with the prayer to Saint Michael but on this particular day it struck me that to be a saint one much CHOOSE to do God's will. Up until the other day, for some reason, I was under the impression that angels did not have free will. So I started on a quest to help me understand this theological - albeit inconsequential - concept. Today, I had some time and decided to spend time looking for this answer and that's how I happened upon your sight and your paper about angels. Thank you for taking the time to document all that you did. While I was reading, tears welled in my eyes for the times that I have poo-pooed my guardian angel and not invited him (for lack of a better pronoun) to pray with me, protect me and be with me. As I read your paper (which I have yet to complete) more and more questions popped into my mind and I searched for some answers in your document and several were there and some not.

I will continue to explore your site and I wanted to express my gratitude for your generosity in publishing this information and your research and making it available for free on the internet.

And I figure, while I am writing to you, why not ask some of the questions that came to my mind and continue to stream...

We become a temple of the Holy Spirit at Baptism; do angels get / need the presence of God in that way?

Can a "good" angel be "hurt" by a fallen angel? By this I mean, is my guardian angel risking suffering by being with me and protecting me?

Are angels tempted by fallen angels? Is the spiritual battle that rages a battle for human souls or does Lucifer / satan fight for other angels to join him?

I have such beautiful images that come to my mind when I think about recent events where I have been attacked (spiritually); I see my guardian angel rushing to his friends and the guardian angels of other people in my life to come to my aid. Just this morning, I was under significant attack and while I was in the height of my interior struggle, another person sent an email - which I did not see until an hour later - that resulted in a quieting of my angst and a healing and lifting of a darkness that had enveloped me but which I was fighting frantically against (with God's grace).

Thank you again for what I believe is a wonderful gift to me and for giving me an outlet for this witness.

Sincerely,

Response #6: 

Dear Friend,

Good to make your acquaintance. Thanks much for your encouraging comments. There is a good deal to say on this subject, and there are many such articles available at Ichthys. I assume you are reading Bible Basics 2A: Angelology? If so, I think many of the questions "between the lines" in your comments here will be informed by that study, but I will be happy to give you other links to related subjects as well once you are finished.

As to your present questions, angels are angels, not departed human beings (or anything else):

1) Angels do not have physical bodies of the sort human beings do, nor are they subject to most of the material limitations human beings are. Therefore the Spirit's ministry of sanctifying us against the weaknesses of flesh on the one hand, and of empowering us to do God's work and will on the other, frail creatures that we are, is clearly not the necessity for angels that it is for believing human beings. What the precise relationship of the Holy Spirit is to the angels, scripture does not seem to say or imply directly; however, we know that the Spirit is the One who makes God's truth known and understandable, so I would imagine that He is at work in this regard in the angelic realms as well. After all, angels are "learning" from their observation of us (e.g., 1Cor.4:9; 11:10; 1Pet.1:12).

2) Angels can apparently not be injured or damaged or hurt in the ways human beings can. They cannot be killed, for example. The punishment for fallen angels before the time of the last judgment is to be incarcerated in the dark and lightless Abyss and that certainly does terrify the demons (Lk.8:31). So whatever "pain" they suffer or trouble or discomfort seems to be of a quite different nature from what we human beings are undergoing here on earth in these physical bodies.

3) That part of the angelic conflict appears to be long past. The last "olive branch" for Satan and his angels was apparently the creation of mankind, and the devil and his followers gave proof of the resolved nature of their decision to reject God and His authority by doing everything in their power to derail God's incipient replacement of them with human beings. This is all detailing in the five part Satanic Rebellion series (see the link) and there are other places at Ichthys where these issues are addressed as well. Suffice it to say here that a creature of unparalleled ability, perception and longevity such as an angel, a creature who has been in God's very presence since long before the world was reconstructed during the seven Genesis days, a creature of light not restricted by a physical body, will have a very different decision-making process than we ephemeral and highly limited human beings have. There is truly very little about the essential facts of creation that angels not only do not know but also have not been observing for many millennia. Human beings who have no use for God tend to harden their hearts against the truth about Him after only a few short years of life (that is the origin of atheism, after all everyone knows from natural revelation that there is a Creator, but it takes willful blotting out of the truth to later deny His very existence). How much more hardened would an angel have to be to deny the goodness, grace and power of a God they have seen face to face for millennia upon millennia? Once angels have "decided", therefore, there seems to be no going back, and the time for that in any case seems to have long passed as well. We are all given a fair chance to change our minds and repent, but not an unlimited time. For human beings, that time runs out at physical death; for fallen angels, it ran out a long time ago at the fall. And the elect angels are in no danger of being corrupted at this point, especially now that have witnessed the plan of God moving victoriously forward in such an inexorable way. The cross and Jesus' sacrifice, the Rock upon which the Plan of God is founded, is now a reality; the second advent is in the wings; victory has not only been won, but is on the point of being revealed when our Lord is revealed in a very short time. It's too late for them, but for us, every day is an opportunity to win rewards that will glorify Christ and please us for all eternity.

I hope this is helpful to you. Please do feel free to write back.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob Luginbill

Question #7: 

Dear Sir,

Thank you for helping me with these questions.

I hope you don't mind if I ask more than one question about scripture in the Book of Revelation.

(1) Why isn't the place called the "Abyss" one of the things cast into the lake of fire along with Death and Hades? (Revelation 20: 11 - 15). It is a significant place of activity in the earlier chapters of Revelation.

(2) In Ephesians 6: 10 - 12 Paul lists the demonic powers that the Christian is up against: Powers, Principalities and World Rulers of this present darkness. In Revelation 19 and 20 the only demonic personalities mentioned are the Beast, the False Prophet and Satan. Why are all the demonic hosts (under Satan) listed as either with the Beast or the False Prophet?

(3) In Revelation 19 why does it say that the "Beast" and the "False Prophet" were cast "alive" into the Lake of Fire? As part of Satan's empire they are dead - spiritually dead. They would not be part of the Great White Throne judgement, just as later, Satan is not and is cast into the lake of fire. The Great White Throne judgement concerns the human dead as far as I've read in Revelation.

(4) In Revelation 13 Satan gives his power and throne and great authority to the "Beast", why isn't the creature the False Prophet also "specifically mentioned" as being given Satan's delegated powers?

(5) In military terms, what would Satan's position be called after he had bestowed his power, throne and great authority to the Beast? Would he be more of a "free lance operator" who could be free to work his deception on certain individuals or small groups he decided were important to influence?

(6) Is there any way we can understand how it's possible for angelic spirits (good or evil) to fight or wage war with each other? There are many places in scripture that indicate they do. What do they use to fight with. Also, God himself is with his holy angels so you would think that it would be no contest.

Response #7:

Good to make your acquaintance.

Most of these questions are addressed/answered in the Satanic Rebellion series or the Coming Tribulation series, but that is a lot to read so I will try to give you the gist here in response to your request:

1) "Death and Hades" refers to the entire underworld and could easily be hyphenated as such (see the link). The nether regions do include the Abyss; most definitely fallen angels will be included in the number of those cast into the lake of fire. The focus in Revelation 20:11ff. is on human unbelievers, however, not fallen angels, and that no doubt accounts for the Spirit seeing no need to include the Abyss with a special reference here.

2) This is similar to the above. Scripture does not generally behave in the way a textbook or modern scholarly work would do. I use footnotes in my history research, and perhaps this would be a good place for one except that we are dealing here with the Bible. The role played by demons / fallen angels apart from Satan during the Tribulation is not given great play anywhere in scripture (in fact I am hard pressed to think of a single reference). No doubt we don't need to know those details we are told about the roles of the chief evil actors: antichrist, the devil and the false prophet. If scripture included absolutely everything we should all like to know, it would have to have more volumes than would fit into my small home. But blessedly we do have more than enough and in fact just the right amount. For more on the organization and activities of the fallen angels please see BB 2A: Angelology (link)

3) This verse is talking about them being physically alive meaning that they do not, as with other evil people, suffer physical death and go into Torments, then face judgment at the Great White Throne. Rather, they are picked up while still breathing and without further ado cast into the lake of fire. This is meant to be a dramatic and horrifying punishment for the two greatest purveyors of evil ever to draw breath in human bodies.

4) The false prophet is subordinate to antichrist just as antichrist is subordinate to the devil. In this "false trinity" there is no equality as there is in the true Trinity.

5) Satan's position does not change. What this verse means is that the beast is the closest thing to the devil incarnate ruling on earth. Indeed, antichrist is the pseudo-Messiah: anti-Christ. This just means that Satan will put all of his chips on the number of the beast, so to speak.

6) Without God allowing it, of course there could have been no satanic rebellion. But of course that is true with all of human history and everything anti-God that happens. This is all part of the perfect plan designed to winnow out those who wish to live with God and obey Him from those who have no wish to live with God or to compromise their own will in any way, not even to deign to accept His most gracious Gift of eternal life through accepting Christ (link: BB 4B: Soteriology). As to angelic combat, there is not too much in scripture about this, but I have discussed it at this link: "Angelic Combat".

As I say, the two series linked above will give a good deal more perspective on these issues, so do please have a look.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #8: 

You wrote:

So I would say it the other way around - the Lord could not have justly created the angels including Satan without first having planned to create Man, and He could not have justly planned to create Man without having first planned and committed to have His own dear Son our Lord Jesus Christ come into the world to save sinful mankind by sacrificing Himself unto death. For creating creatures with free will, whether angels or men, guaranteed that some would misuse that freedom to rebel against the very One who gave them life.

I'm still trying to understand the logical sequence behind creation. As I see it at the moment:

1) When God decided to create beings with free will, He knew some could and would rebel.

2) His nature combines righteousness and love, which necessitated the sacrifice of our Lord.

But why did God create angels in the first place if both points above could have been fulfilled by only bringing human beings to existence?

Response #8: 

To me it is clear that the creation of the angels was something God desired just as He desired the creation of human beings. The creation and successful completion through individual choice and free will working itself out in this world of the complete, perfect family of God is the goal of the plan of God, and that family consists of men and angels both: we complement each other in constituting the full measure of creatures with the image of God with whom He desired to share Himself. Just as the spectrum has to have all of its colors to be complete, so also the actual creation / Plan of God had to have all of its human and angelic actors to be the perfect and complete plan it is. Change any one thing and it would not be the perfect plan (but it is, as it is).

Question #9:  

You wrote (http://ichthys.com/mail-Genesis-Questions2.htm):

I believe he did. Our Lord is the visible member of the Godhead, and He frequently appears in the days before His incarnation in a form which approximates that of an angelic creature (which, of course, He is not and never was; cf. Gal.3:19 where "angels" means "appearances of the pre-incarnate Christ" since there is no mention in Exodus of any "angels" in our sense giving the Law).

Could you clarify this? If our Lord is meant here as giving the law in the pre-incarnate form of the Angel of the Lord, then why does Paul use plural?

Response #9: 

In my view, this is done to represent His multiple appearances. "Angel" (or "messenger" in both Hebrew and Greek) often means "a manifestation of a messenger" or The Messenger of God. Another reason would be to downplay that issue here which would otherwise complicate the point Paul is making about Moses being the mediator (i.e., it would be distracting to go into the details you ask about like a parenthesis inserted into the context which is so long that the reader forgets what was on the near side when he/she finally gets to the far side).

Question #10: 

Dear Professor,

I thought I would ask you a question which my friend came up with regarding the presence of the Spirit in the Old Testament. We had a discussion about the Holy Spirit recently and he was under the impression that He was only revealed in the New Testament and hardly mentioned in the Old. I forwarded to him the list of references which you included in Pneumatology (section "The Spirit's Ministry before the Cross and Resurrection of Christ") which changed his perception. He said that it would be interesting to know what was the Jewish interpretation of these passages. Do we know how do the Jews take all these verses speaking about the Spirit and how do they perceive the Spirit?

I wrote the first email to you four years ago. These four years have been quite a time. Thank you for your continuous help. Time is short, every hour counts.

In our Lord,

Response #10: 

Four years! You have given yourself a seminary education and then some in a short time! I'm very pleased to have been a part of it, my friend.

As to Jewish receptions of the Spirit, well, there are today as many Jewish schools of biblical interpretation as there are Christian, and that doesn't account for historical perspectives. I can say in general terms that "angels" of "the Wisdom of God" are often used to explain away any potentially too obvious Trinitarian references in the OT such as "Let us make man" meaning "God and the angels" to many Jewish commentators! Generally speaking, the Spirit is seen by them as a sort of modalistic presence emanating from God rather than the unique Person He is. But what can they do with this passage?

"Come near to Me, listen to this:
From the first I have not spoken in secret,
From the time it took place, I was there.
And now the Lord GOD has sent Me, and His Spirit."
Isaiah 48:16 NASB

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #11:  

Hello again Bob

Thank you for your response and what you said about those who reject Jesus going to hell makes sense; often I read comments from atheists about children going to hell etc. and your response is perfect.

There is another thing I would like you to clarify, is Satan an archangel or a cherub, a nice Christian lady said to me. According to the Amplified version, Ezek. 29:13-16, is talking about a future restoration of Egypt, similar to that promised Israel, nothing whatever to do with Satan's fall. Isaiah 14:12-15 speaks to the fall of Lucifer from grace.

How to you see this Bob?

Many thanks

Response #11: 

Satan was a cherub (see the link in BB 2A), the highest ranking of the angelic orders. This describes his rank. The word developed "precious" connotations in English literature but that perspective is not biblical although the word's etymology is disputed, Charubh ("cherub") may be derived from an Akkadian root meaning "blessed". Satan was displaced because of his rebellion and replaced with a college of four cherubs (all elect angels). Angels are angels, however, whether elect or fallen. We classify them according to their choice for or against God, and also according to their rank (as assigned to them by God or Satan; see the link: "Angelic Hierarchy"):

By the abundance of your trading
You became filled with violence within,
And you sinned;
Therefore I cast you (i.e., "down") as a profane thing
Out of the mountain of God;
And I destroyed you, O covering cherub,
From the midst of the fiery stones.
Ezekiel 28:16 NKJV

Most conservative evangelical exegetes of whom I am aware take this passage, Ezekiel 28 (not chap. 29 perhaps your friend merely got the chapter wrong) as referring to the devil. There's nothing about Egypt here, and how anyone but an angel could have been on the original "mountain of God" and "amid the stones of fire" is unclear to me. The whole context is, moreover, filled with things which could only apply to Satan. I treat this passage in BB 2A: Angelology, at the link: "Ezekiel 28:15-18".

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #12:  

Hello Sir, I pray that all is going well for you. I have been busy with family-life and the day-to-day distractions. I've been studying on the chronology of Revelations and wanted to know if Wormwood is an Angel or a physical star? Now I know that a star is too big and would completely decimate the Earth. A star is also referred to Angels throughout the scriptures. I'm just at a standstill.

Response #12: 

Good to hear from you, my friend.

It's true that angels are often referred to as stars, but "wormwood" is not an angel nor is it a "star" in the way we (or science) defines that word in English today. In the ancient world, a "star" (Greek aster, Latin sidus, stella) is any celestial body that does not "wander" in a difficult to predict way (the "wanderers" are our "planets" from the Greek planao, "to wander"). Simply put, while science today distinguishes meteors, asteroids and stars, they are all the same to the Greeks and Romans (who had no idea just how large "stars" far away in space actually were and are). As a result, they used the same words for objects light years away and those of some size circling our planet (and occasionally falling to earth as meteorites). So this wormwood "star" or aster (from which comes "asteroid") will be big enough to contaminate the world's fresh water (a fairly large asteroid, I would imagine), but not big enough to destroy the entire planet exactly in the way the Word of God prophesies. Here is a link to where this is all discussed in Coming Tribulation:

"Fresh Water Stricken (in CT 3A)"

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #13: 

Thanks for the explanation. I did wonder about the "she" in the Isaiah verse. Also, I have noticed that in the NT, when the OT is quoted, that sometimes the quoter expands the text a bit, to add an additional meaning to the verse--the way in Hebrews it quotes Ps. 8,saying that Jesus was made "for a little while" lower than the angels, and I don't think it says that in the Psalm itself. ye.

Response #13: 

Yes, the issue of how the OT is quoted in the NT is a very interesting one, and one that is in need of much proper scholarly work which is not being done. With all the ink spilled on worthless subjects, one would think someone would get to that. I have done a little, but, obviously, it's only a very small side-light to this ministry.

In your example of Psalm 8:5, the Hebrew has 'elohiym, the word for God but also the word for "gods". So the LXX has interpreted this "gods" as "angels", and, since that is correct, the NT follows the Septuagint text.

Yours in our dear Lord Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #14:   

Hi--Yes, it would be nice if more work were done on that. As for Ps. 8, I was referring to the part about how Jesus was "for a little while" being made a little lower than the angels. I don't think the "little while" is in the original Hebrew in Ps. 8, is it, but is an addition? But I have noticed that sometimes when an OT passage is quoted in the NT, an additional tidbit of info is added, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. OR an OT passage that is about earthly things is re-interpreted to mean about heavenly things--Like Ps. 45 and Hebrews 1.

I have one other question--please don't groan!--but could you look up a word for me in the Hebrew and see if the meaning is a bit unclear or ambiguous? The first is the word for "couch" in Song of Solomon 3:7. The second is from 3:9, the word for "sedan chair." Our BibleWorks 4.0 gives as a last definition "chariot" for this word, but mostly it says it means "sedan chair." I was wondering how likely it is to mean "chariot" since it's not the usual words for "chariot" in the OT--one is "rekeb" and I forget the other one. The reason for this is a tad complicated, but I will try to explain it briefly.

In the Book of Mormon, chariots and horses are mentioned. The BoM lands and events are supposed to have occurred in the New World, either N. or S. America. The American Indians are supposed to be the descendants of the Lamanites who were supposed to be originally from Israel--semites. Of course, DNA studies have proven otherwise, but won't go into that. Now, we know that N. and S. American Indians never had the wheel--some knew the concept, as little clay toys of animals with wheels for legs have been found. But they never had draft animals big enough to pull carts, so they were never developed. Also, there were no horses in the Americas until the Spanish introduced them. SO--some Mormons have said that "chariot" could mean "sedan chair" and "horses" could just mean a "ceremonial war beast" that accompanied the "chariot/sedan chair." It's a ludicrous argument, obviously trying desperately to make it sound as if Joe Smith didn't make a mistake in writing "chariot" and "horses", which are totally anachronistic for the Book of Mormon, since neither existed in the New World until after Columbus.

Hence, my question about the Song of Solomon verses. This one Mormon claims that "chariot" and "sedan chair" are synonyms! And tries to prove it with the second Song of Solomon verse. In the BoM, it has a king ordering his chariot and horses to be made ready, so he can go to a neighboring country to attend a banquet. He said that these verses in the BoM don't say the horses were hitched up to the chariots. I pointed out that traveling by sedan chair would be a tediously slow way to travel to another country, it would be exhausting for the people carrying the chair and anyway, what would the horses/ceremonial war beast be doing running alongside the sedan chairs? Are they there just for looks, to be eye candy? I said that it would have been faster for the king to have ridden of the beasts to the banquet!

Anyway, I would appreciate the info about Song of Solomon 3:9. I think it is the only time this word "appiryown" appears in the OT, so I don't know if it is an uncertain translation or not. And the KJV is the only English translation that I can see that even translates it that way, though he provided another from some obscure translation I have never heard of. The others say "sedan chair, palanquin, carriage." Thanks again.

Response #14: 

In terms of the phrase "a little lower than the angels", the Hebrew of Psalm 8:5 has m'at, which means "a little". It can be interpreted to mean "a little" either in rank or in duration of time here; in my view both ideas are probably present, but in translating in English one really is forced to choose between the two (translation is always problematic). Relating this closely to our Lord and us by extension as most translations do is fine because obviously, the humiliation of Adam and later of Christ is much more clearly in view in the context than the fact that the time of that humiliation which was relatively short (compared to an eternity of glorification). The LXX translates m'at with the phrase brachy ti,"a little bit", and this is a nice way to render it. In Hebrews, Paul uses the same exact phrasing as the Septuagint. Most English versions have "a little" in both passages, but I notice that the RSV and NASB both have "for a little while" in the Hebrews quotation. That is an interpretation, and, as I say, while it is certainly true, "a little" accomplishes the same thing (in that it can be taken either way or even both ways at once) without skewing the translation.

On the second question, the word in verse seven is mitteh. It means "bed", most of the time, but the key idea is something one can lay down on because it has been "stretched out" (from the root matah). The word never means anything close to "saddle" (something which, by the way, is never "stretched out" in any sense of that idea). The word in verse nine is indeed a hapax legomenon; the etymology is obscure. It doesn't seem to be Semitic, but there is apparently a Sanskrit root very close which means "litter" just as the word ought to mean here. Also, the Greek and Latin translations (LXX and Vulgate) both have words for "litter". There are, by the way, no horses in the context at all (without which a saddle is not too much use). Additionally, the men who surround Solomon are not said to be mounted and the description is more consistent with infantry (guarding and carrying the litter). Finally, being conveyed in a litter was the height of luxury in the ancient world which is the picture being conveyed here and would be especially so in ancient Israel where, as far as I know, this practice was otherwise unprecedented except for Solomon. But plenty of people who were not king rode horses and donkeys. In other words, all evidence points to "litter"; nothing points to "saddle".

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #15: 

Hello--I don't know if I asked you about this already and if I did, I apologize, but could you please take a look at what this Mormon wrote to me? My comments are in the blue boxes (the "they" in the first line refers to the books in the Bible):

They were not all written at the same time and in the same historical context.. Which is where I see you and your friends error.. It's as you folk think the Bible dropped out of the sky. Psalms 82, as with many of the Psalms are much older texts than most of the Bible even the Torah. Psalms 82 dates to around 9th century BCE.. Thus if you would accept the text for what it actually say's in the historical context in which it comes from it does not refer to Human Judges but to a divine council. It has direct underpinnings of Canaanite myth embedded in it. If you had done your homework on it you would know this.

You accuse ME of putting my own interpretation on what the Bible says. Well, aren't YOU doing the same???

No. I'm not interpreting Ps 82 according to my LDS beliefs.

So, is God ONLY the God of the Jews, in the OT?

I never suggested such.. I have only suggested the historical context of the text you are reading does not conform to the way your are interpreting it. Thus if you don't interpret the text in it's historical context, you are engaging in PRESENTISM and eisegesis, reading your present ideas INTO the text. In the case of deutero-Isaiah that you cite.. (I also note you parse them out and jump back and forth to try to spin your case) The text is written to Jews.. Not Babylonians or anyone else. Jews that were captive in Babylon. The historical world view at the time was that every nation had a patron god... These were real gods in the minds of the Jews. Even if they believed their god YHWH was superior in every way. This tradition is reflected in both the Ps 82, but more importantly in Deut 32:8-9.. where it reflect a belief that in the times of old, presumably after the flood , God divided up the nations of the earth according to the number of the 'gods' or 'sons of god'.. With YHWH inheritance was Israel.. So from that view point, YHWH is one of the many sons of God (The MOST HIGH GOD) and is Sovereign over Israel. His chosen people.. . And Isaiah needs to be understood in that context.. Thus the expressions of No other god before or after is reference to the sovereignty of YHWH over Israel. There will never be another.. That may not be how we choose to BELIEVE today, but that's how the ancients would have been seeing the world.

Do you believe there are other true deities floating around the universe and that they get together for a great conference from time to time, and then God lambasts them for judging unjustly?? I am not trying to make fun here, but just get a handle on what you believe about Ps. 82. Is this what you think it means?

I believe heaven is full of divine beings. Is heaven floating around in the universe? Where EXACTLY is Heaven ?

What do you think of his arguments? The Isaiah verses he is referring to are the ones where God says "I am the LORD an there is no other; apart from Me there is no God" and "no God came before Me and none will be formed after Me". What this Mormon writes about these verses starts in the paragraph "In the case of the deutero-Isaiah that you write...."

I told him--and correct me if I am wrong--that Israel/Judah wasn't in exile yet, in Babylon/Chaldea, though I didn't do that until yesterday, when it occurred to me. I am a bit fuzzy about that. Didn't that happen later under Jeremiah? I know Isaiah warned about it and what would happen to Judah for its wickedness. But they weren't in exile yet, were they?

And notice how this guy sets himself up as an expert on what the ancient Israelites would have thought. It seems to me, all of this is just an excuse to excuse and justify Mormon polytheism and the idea that we all have the potential to become "gods" over our own worlds, if we are exalted after death.

I did ask this guy to explain John 17:3 to me, and asked him if Jesus was lying when He said that God was the only one true God...but so far, he ignored my question and has for a month now. And also I asked him about where Paul calls other "gods" "so-called gods" that are "by nature are NO gods." No answer to that, either.

Response #15: 

There were only a few brief comments in the blue boxes. I take it that the argument runs that because there is a "council of the mighty ones" in scripture, and because some English version translate this as "gods", that for that reason the Bible is a hodgepodge. A pretty tenuous argument. In fact, even if 'elohiym in the plural is translated "gods", this is clearly a different category than 'elohiym in the plural which is far more often translated as God. We are "gods" too in the lower case sense of having the image of God, free will, the ability to choose as if we were sovereign and so are the angels (about whom these verses are actually written, of course). The problem with retaining the same word for both occurrences is that it gives people like this the wrong idea; the advantage is that it preserves the analogous vocabulary in English from Hebrew and also Greek. But clearly enough there is no "Canaanite mythology" here such texts do not even exist. Misunderstanding the essential theological point above is common enough, however, even in more conservative circles.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #16:  

Hi--Thanks for your input. I think he means that the Jews had a tendency to see the nation's gods/Gods as existing, but lesser than YHWH. The Jews did often leave off the pure worship of YHWH and mix the worship of idols in with the True God. But Mormons tend to believe there are lots of other gods out there but they worship only Elohim. But what did he mean by "deutero-Isiaiah"? I have never heard of that term. Not with Isaiah, I haven't.

Thanks again.

Response #16: 

As it says in Jeremiah . . .

Has a nation ever changed its gods? (Yet they are not gods at all.) But my people have exchanged their glorious God for worthless idols.
Jeremiah 2:11

If the point is that some apostate Jews at some time have worshiped idols and actually believed in them, I don't think that proves anything one way or the other. However, I think what correspondent is trying to say is that in "actual history" as opposed to "the fantasy Bible", the "Jewish religion evolved" out of the pagan milieu of the ancient near east. That is certainly the secular anthropological view. It happens to be dead wrong, of course, but I don't see how this helps Mormons prove their book has validity; disproving the validity of the Bible would seem to cast doubt on the tradition onto which Mormonism has unapologetically "glommed on". I'm pretty sure this is what correspondent means too.

The deutro-Isaiah thesis is a (dead-wrong) theory which posits that the book by "the actual Isaiah" stops with chapter 39 and was added onto much later by a second writer or sometimes a third writer is even also posited. The main reason for adducing this is because of all the prophecy in the latter portion of the book which actually came true so "of course" it couldn't have been written by the Isaiah before the fact; "of course" it had to have been written by someone else with the benefit of historical hindsight. That's what I mean about a low view of inspiration. It would be interesting to hear if correspondent has the same view of the book of Mormon. Since the Bible is essentially "made up" in his/her view, how much more so that other book.

In Jesus Christ who is the Truth,

Bob L.

Question #17: 

Okay, thanks. Yes, this Mormon has a high view of the Book of Mormon; he has said so. When I have asked Mormons what the BoM has that the bible doesn't, they have told me that it has the "Fullness of the Gospel" in it. To which I replied, "You mean the 1st century Christians didn't have the "full Gospel"? No one had the "full Gospel" until Joseph Smith supposedly "restored" it in 1830? Where are the doctrines unique to Mormonism found in the Bible?" Of course, they have no answer for that. The cling to an avowedly false prophet--one who rewrote the Bible in his very UNinspired Version, even putting his name in the Old Testament, about a prophet, "Joseph, son of Joseph" restoring all things or something similar. The man had a bad case of megalomania. And unfortunately Mormons have swallowed his lies hook, line, sinker, bait, and boat!

Thanks again.

Response #17:

Well-spoken, and most interesting. My question then would be what, exactly, are they "restoring" if they feel that the apostles were in the wrong and what about our Lord in the gospels? Sounds more like inventing than restoring to me.

Yours in our dear Lord Jesus.

Bob L.

Question #18: 

Ha! You got it! The Mormons claim many "precious truths" were removed from the Bible, including parts of the NT, where all of their beliefs supposedly came from--but you pointed out to me months ago that there was no way the early church was big enough or organized enough or powerful enough to insure that all of the NT manuscripts had had "certain passages" taken out--not when we have over 5000 Greek NT manuscripts, whole or in part, available to us. And not one has doctrines in it that would be recognizable as "Mormon."

Response #18: 

That's really rich! I don't of any person or group claiming passages were taken out of the Bible and having no evidence, not a single papyrus scrap, which contains a trace of the mystery passages. Philologically speaking, it's easier to make a case for Bigfoot.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #19:  

Hello--I hope you are well. I was wondering if you would look at something for me, by some "scholar" or other named Michael Heiser. Mormons, as you know, are basically polytheists. And they think Ps. 82 really is about a true council of lots of gods. But in context, the entire thing sounds as if the Psalmist is talking about human judges called "gods", maybe in irony, or because they had the power of life and death over the people. Also, even in the first line, where it says God is among His congregation, that could refer to angels, couldn't it? But angels don't judge humans and they aren't judges in heaven or earth. And near the end, the psalmist asks God to "judge the earth." And it says these gods will die like men and fall like any prince. Doesn't sound very "god-like" to me.

Anyway, this Mormon actually said that scholars--plural--were in agreement about what Ps. 82 means and this Heiser guy supposedly proves it, to the Mormon. I said to him,"You've read every single scholar about this psalm? Every last one of them?"

Anyway, could you please tell me what you think about what this Heiser guy thinks?

"You've Seen One Elohim, You've Seen Them All? A Critique of Mormonism's Use of Psalm 82" by Michael S. Heiser as cited. Over the course of the last eight years I have read several papers dealing in one way or another with that feature of Israelite religion known as the divine council. Anyone doing serious research in Israelite religion is soon confronted with the powerful evidence for a pantheon in the Hebrew Bible.1 It is a dramatic example of the kind of issue with which evangelical scholars who pursue advanced studies in Hebrew and Semitics must deal. It is also a good example of why some evangelical colleagues whose scholarship focuses on areas outside the Hebrew text, such as apologetics or philosophical theology, cannot appreciate why their articulation of an issue related to our area of specialization may lack explanatory power or coherence. I am reminded of Wayne Grudem's sobering analysis of several years ago at the Evangelical Theological Society as to how we textual scholars often fail to make the carefully mined data of exegesis accessible to our colleagues to formulate a coherent theology derived from the Hebrew and Greek texts, not the English Bible. We too often work in isolation from one another. I bring this up for two reasons. First, because after spending nearly a decade absorbed in study of the divine council, I feel more strongly than ever that there is not a single doctrine that is untouched by the subject. The reason is simple: the divine council is all about the nature of God, his creation and rulership of all that is, his heavenly and earthly family, and the destiny of the earth and the larger cosmos. I think the topic at hand will illustrate just how far the reach of this subject extends. Second, I want to prepare you for the fact that I am going to agree and disagree with both the Latter-day Saint and evangelical positions in this paper. Ultimately, my focus is on certain flaws in the LDS understanding and use of Psalm 82, but that should not be taken as affirmation of what I know by now are common evangelical positions on the contents of this psalm. Since I have already written on many of the topics I will touch on in this paper, I will direct you to the full argumentation for certain points as it appears elsewhere. By way of telegraphing my positions, I offer the following summaries. Position statements on Psalm 82 and the divine council with which many evangelicals would probably disagree and with which many Latter-day Saints would likely agree: 1. The plural 'elohiym of Psalm 82:1, 6 are divine beings, not human judges or humans fulfilling any role."

Of course, he didn't put down the entire article, to see what Heiser wrote in full which wouldn't be allowed on the boards, and Heiser could very well say other things that actually agree with what Christians think about this Psalm. But even if the first verse refers to "divine beings" it seems to me that it could simply mean God is among His angels, which certainly are heavenly beings. But verse 6??? And doesn't "elohim" have a variety of meanings, depending upon context? And can "divine beings" die like men?

Anyway, thanks for any help you can give me.

Response #19: 

I think you have correctly discerned that this is an issue of definitions. If we assign a technical definition to a Greek or Hebrew word in the Bible and then use that English definition to back-interpret into the Bible what a passage "must mean" as a result of our own defining, we are only going to be as right as our definition is precise.

The Hebrew word 'el means "mighty one", and its plural 'elohiyim may mean "mighty ones" (context to determine what that implies), "gods" (used of pagan gods all the time), or "God", the plural reflecting the majesty of God but also His triune nature (as we know at least by the time of the New Testament, with plenty of foreshadowing already existing in the Old). Psalms are poetic and poems easily move from one subject to another. God does hold counsel with the angels (cf. the first two chapters of Job). And "gods" / "mighty one" is also used to refer to human beings (as it does in verse six as we know from John 10:34). The key point of similarity between God, angels, and men, is his WILL and our will, that is, the image of God we have been given by Him to choose for or against His WILL. To have the ability to choose makes one a "mighty one" there is nothing more potent in the universe God has created than self-determination.

As to the interpretation of Psalm 82, my take is that Asaph is comparing human judges / rulers (who not only have self-determination but also the sovereign power of imposing their will on others) to God and His angels as an example of how they should be carrying out their God-given responsibility (i.e., in the justice which God always employs). But these human "gods/judges" are instead abusing their authority, and will pay the price in the end. This is a solace to believers being oppressed at any time, but especially during the coming Tribulation: we need to remember that God is in charge on high in His heavenly council, that any human power being abusive to us is not beyond His ability to check and direct, and that all rulers/judges/officials who oppose Him and persecute us will "die like mere mortals" even though they esteemed their power as "God-like" while they ruled. For the Lord will soon return and right all wrongs:

Rise up, O God, judge the earth, for all the nations are your inheritance.
Psalm 82:8 NIV

In anticipation of that great day of the Lord Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #20: 

Hi--I have one more question about this "gods" thing--doesn't it say somewhere in the OT that the judges are "gods"--like in the Pentateuch? I wouldn't know how to look it up as there are tons of "gods" in our concordances. Just wondering. I don't know if you told me that or not, but I cannot find it in our message history. Thanks!

Response #20: 

As far as I know, all such instances are matters of interpretation. Possible passages sometimes adduced from the Pentateuch: Ex.21:6; 22:8; 22:28. But all of these might well be "God" rather than "judges".

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #21:  

Hello--I don't mean to belabor this point about "gods" in Ps. 82, but I wonder what you think of this guy's post. Just curious, LDS posters here often quote Michael Heiser as a proof text for a divine council. What do you believe Michael's view is on what you wrote. He criticizes you and says your area of study is the classics and you don't know the Bible. But I thought you told me that you did study the Bible, that is was part of classical literature. I know you used to teach biblical Hebrew and won some award in it but you no longer teach it.

Also, what do you think of his link to the scholars from the past 100 who seem to think "gods" in Ps. 82 are deities? I haven't looked a the link yet, so he could very well be wrong. But he is definitely wrong when he says that angels are deities. What are these Mormons smoking, anyway???

You may have to scroll up or down to see the post I am referring to. The stuff I wrote and quoted from you is in blue in his post.

Thanks. Sorry to drag you into this.

Response #21: 

I almost fell out of my chair laughing when I read this: "Biblical scholarship has reached a consensus . . . " !!! I think it would be more likely to read in the paper that "politicians in Washington reached a consensus today about . . . (anything)". We all understand the use of rhetoric to support argumentation. Appealing to anonymous authority is a classic way of doing so, and that is clearly what we have here. A more common but hardly less ridiculous way of doing this is to say, "Joe Blow holds this position, and so do many others" who are of course not named. A beloved Hebrew professor of mine in seminary affirmed that the most quoted authority of all times was just this "Minnie Uthers". It does look spiffier if one does this in Latin (= et al.). But to say that in biblical studies of all things there is a "consensus" would set off anyone's nonsense-radar. When correspondent says "The doctoral dissertation here reviews every scholarly publication on Psalm 82 from the last 100+ years. You can see that the overwhelming consensus is that the text refers to deities and not to humans" we can perhaps see the disingenuousness at its most perspicuous. The work linked is not a doctoral dissertation at all but an M.A. thesis which has plenty of citations, but only a very few which are used to support the extreme ideas advanced by correspondent. I didn't see any evidence of any cohort of individuals (or anyone at all actually) who even suggest that 'elohiym in Psalm 82 is referring to actual deities. The thesis subscribes to the view that the religion of Israel was an anthropological phenomenon and that the terminology of divine names evolved from pagan Canaanite usage. It is in that context that author flirts with the idea of 'elohiyim always being "gods", and, interestingly, suggests that YHVH is subordinate to the Psalm 82 council (?!). The thesis' author, by the way, is also a Mormon, so it is perhaps not surprising that your correspondent has found what he was looking for except that he either didn't read it or understand it.

Anyone interested in seeing if I am qualified to say what I am saying can find my C.V. online at the link.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #22:  

Hi Bob,

My thinking, in studying the The WAR of Heaven, I had this question. (Revelation 22:2) The LEAVES of the tree of life is for the healing of the nations. Is it plausible to consider, in God's perfect creation, the angels were given sound minds and the leaves were given to nourish their Free good Will spirit and soul, by inspiration of God. In other words, those angels, who fell with Lucifer become Satan, did not continue to take 'shade or nourishment' of the leaves of the tree, thus their minds became corrupt and vain imaginations were increased to ponder Satan's promises of an 'physical form' or body to experience the full sensual pleasure, that Adam and Eve took part of? God only wishes 'good will', a strengthening of the spirit, mind or soul, by choice.

What purpose do leaves serve for a tree or shrub?

Symbolism - Link: http://uk.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20081202150942AAVfOZD

They (leaves) shade the Tree, branches and plants, like Psalms 91:1 - under the shadow of the Almighty

Leaves are the main energy conversion section of most plants. They photosynthesize the sun's rays, along water and Co2 convert it into energy mostly carbohydrates such as starch and sugars. They shade the plant and the lower leaves during the hottest part of the day. They help with gas exchange and water evaporation to help cool the plant and aid in food transportation by moving the water through the plant from the roots to out the stomata. The stomata open as soon as they are hit by the sun and close when the plant is losing more water then it can take up. Without leaves it would be a much different world. The leaves supply the energy that the trees and shrubs need to grow, live and reproduce. Foliage feeding and watering is over a hundred times more efficient then then root watering and feeding. It is right at the point that is generating and converting the energy. To feed the leaves it must be done on the underpart of the leaf so that it can enter the stomata. The temperature range is very narrow. The amount that can be fed through the stomata is very small. So don't rule out the roots. Feeding chemicals through the leaves can green them in a couple of hours as compared to 4 or 5 days through the roots. The green limbs can also photosynthesize a very small amount.

Why Leaves Really Fall Off Trees?

Link: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=114288700

Here's why. Around this time of year in the Northern Hemisphere, as the days grow shorter and colder, those changes trigger a hormone in leaf-dropping trees that sends a chemical message to every leaf that says, in essence, "Time to go! Let's part company!" Once the message is received, says Raven, little cells appear at the place where the leaf stem meets the branch. They are called "abscission" cells. They have the same root as the word scissors, meaning they are designed, like scissors, to make a cut. (my thinking - cut off, OUT of the land of the living)

Response #22: 

The tree of life existed in Eden, that is, the Eden of Adam and Eve. I don't know of any biblical information that would place it in the original Eden, the Eden whence Satan and his followers rebelled and fell from Grace. In the plan of God, there are "seven Edens" (literally, "place of pleasure", with the presence of God being the essence of the "delight" in question; see the link), and the tree of life only occurs in two of them, namely, the first Eden of mankind and the final Eden, the New Jerusalem (in which it is significantly different in form and purpose; see the link).

We find that in the New Jerusalem the leaves of the tree of life will have the capacity to bless saved human beings, but we will still have bodies, after all. Angels do not have physical bodies; their spirit bodies do not need nourishment nor can they, apparently, be blessed/pleasured by physical stimuli the way we can now and will be able to be in our resurrection bodies (which explains the effectiveness of Satan's "revolutionary platform"; see the link).

It's always amazing to most everyone who considers this question how Satan could reject God after being in His presence, but it really shouldn't be. After all, we see the exact same thing every time a human being considers the marvels of the creation, realizes (as all do) that what has been made must have been made by an all-powerful all-righteous God and then rejects having any relationship with Him even so (despite the fact that death and judgment are the obvious lot of all mankind absent a Savior).

(18) God's wrath is about to be revealed from heaven upon all ungodliness and unrighteousness on men who suppress the truth [in their hearts about God] in their unrighteousness. (19) For that which can be known about God [from everyday experience] is obvious to them, because God has made it obvious. (20) His nature, though invisible, is nevertheless plainly apparent, and has been since His foundation of the world, for it may be clearly inferred from this creation of His [this is true of] both His eternal power and His divinity so that they are without any excuse.
Romans 1:18-20

The only real difference is that the rejection by human beings of God and the arrogance that lies behind it are less visible to the eye than the more clearly seen case of satanic rejection. What is clear from the above citation is that people who reject God do so from a suppression of the truth, a hardening of the heart, just as Satan and his followers did. And when truth is suppressed and the heart becomes hard, people (and angels) are capable of all sorts of things which seem "crazy" to anyone viewing the matter objectively. Satan imagined he could defeat God. That is insane. But it seemed correct to him in his self-perverted heart, once God's truth had been replaced in his thinking by another pseudo "truth" of his own making (i.e., the "lie"; cf. Jn.8:44; and see the link: "the satanic lies"). So in this sense you have a point, namely, that it was by rejecting the truth that Satan and his followers become hardened in their hearts and capable of the self-destructive attempt to de-throne God. It's always about truth. And, incidentally, in terms of symbolism, Jesus Christ is the "tree of life" represented by the menorah in the tabernacle/temple (see the link) and He is the Truth, the Word of God.

Hardness of heart is an astounding thing, but a very important biblical subject. It explains just how it is that God allows free will to be the determining factor in the ultimate disposition of all moral creatures in His plan. No one who really "knew the score" would opt for the lake of fire, but many angels and most human beings really do not wish to yield an iota of their personal sovereignty which comes from having the image of God back to God even though it is not at all onerous to do so, merely accepting the Person and work of Jesus Christ who paid the entire price for our sins (He did the work; we merely accept the gift of grace if willing to do so).

By allowing moral creatures to distort their hearts and consciences, God has provided the perfect way to bring out what each and everyone of us really wants in our "heart of hearts". As I often have recourse to say, in planning creation, "God made us who we choose to be so that we choose to be what God made us". Hardening of the heart is the process by which this truth comes about for those who reject His provision for a blessed eternity with Him in spite of the consequences (please see the link).

Do feel free to write back about any of the above.

Yours in Jesus Christ who died on the tree of the cross that we might have the right to the leaves and fruit of the tree of life forever,

Bob L.

Question #23: 

Bob, you are such a wealth of knowledge and I thank The Lord for having found you! I have shared your website with others connected with me on FaceBook. I am sure many will be amazed with your presentation of biblical scriptureand the way you lay things out.

Did you ever get a chance to review my 1st email (with attachments)? I would like to see where 'my thinking' may be incorrect or correct, whatever the case may be, i am seeking 'truth', so there are no wrong answers, just wrong directions.

Response #23: 

Thanks for this! And you are certainly most welcome.

As to your question, I did peruse your materials briefly, and I had thought that the first email did address many of the issues here, at least in broad terms. But detailed critiquing of personal statements of faith is not generally the sort of thing I do. That is because I have learned over the years that when it comes to beliefs and questions about the Bible, "one at a time" is a much more effective approach. Otherwise, the two parties can easily begin talking past each other to no great purpose. I would, however, be happy to take up any or all of the issues you find important to discuss . . . one at a time, if you don't mind.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #24:   

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Then the War was in Heaven and the world/universe was destroyed. Then, the earth was re-created (in 7 literal days) and all this was witnessed by the angels - fallen and elect. Now, woe be unto the 'inhabitants of the earth' for the devil has come down to the earth, seeking whom he may devour 'with blindness by darkness thru ignorance' of the light ('the truth') of God. From the foundation of the world = universe? Was all 'the world or universe' destroyed or just a sector of God's manifestation? And are we to believe, there are other worlds with beings of some 'nature', that were not affected by 'the war' in heaven, even now? Considering, the foundation of this world, or more universes 'in or out of time'? John 3:16: For God so loved the world (the 'universe'?) Or should this read - For God so loved THIS Universe... any biblical reference?

Response #24: 

Good to hear back from you.

Yes, you have this right. God's destruction of the physical universe or cosmos was complete (only the third heaven and related areas were unaffected, places which are technically "not of this world/cosmos"; e.g., Jn.18:36; cf. Heb.9:11). Genesis 1:2 describes the entire physical universe as bereft of all light (God has withdrawn His truth) and also flooded completely with the universal deep (i.e., the tehom, see the link: "The Waters Above, the Firmament, and the Genesis Gap").

So there is not even any possibility of "other worlds" now, since all life in the universe wherever it may have even hypothetically existed before the great judgment that divides the first two verses of the Bible was snuffed out in an absolute way.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #25: 

My thinking - Just like The Word of God descended down from eternity into Heaven, as Christ,

The Word became flesh and descended down from Heaven into the Earth, as Christ. And could you speak further about my other question from before?

Response #25: 

No offense, but I prefer the way that scripture puts it:

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."
Genesis 1:1 NASB

and

" In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
John 1:1 NASB

As to the other question, I believe this is an issue of what I can "divine geography"; that is to say, the third heaven and the underworld (which apparently does include the lake of fire) are clear part of creation (they did not exist before the actions of the Lord in creating the world), but they are not "of this kosmos" in the sense that they are not part of / visible to the material world that we would call "the universe". Please have a look at the chart at this link and its accompanying discussions:

The Sea and the Firmament

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

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