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Angelic Issues VII

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Question #1:  

Galatians 3:19 (NASB):
Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made.

I have to say I'm still unclear about the idea of the Law being ordained through angels and the plural used in this verse.

Response #1: 

It's not an easy one. Keep in mind that in Hebrews Paul goes to great lengths to dispute the notion that angels are spiritually superior to human beings. Here, the use of the word "angels" is likewise used to show that the actual coming of the Messiah is superior in every way to the Law which foreshadowed Him and His sacrifice. The Law was temporary and it was given through "angels" to a human being, not the Messiah, who was a "mediator", a human being and not God; whereas the Messiah is both human and God. That is the context for Paul's choice of this word. It is an accurate description of the giving of the Law because an "angel" is both a messenger (that is what the word means in Greek and also in Hebrew) and also an instance of the appearance of a messenger – there was more than one appearance in the giving of the Law (which is composed of five books, the last of which was clearly written toward the end of the forty years of wandering). Now it is also true that the Angel in question was the Angel of the Lord who is in fact a Christophany. But for Paul to call attention to that fact and use a singular as well would confuse the argument he's trying to make here that the Law was temporary and given indirectly whereas Christ's words of truth come directly from the God-man Himself without any mediation.

Question #2:  

Ok, understood. Do you think there is any merit in providing references to Deuteronomy 33:1-2, Psalm 68:17, Acts 7:53 or Hebrews 2:2 to bring forward the role of actual angels rather than the Angel of the Lord and His appearances?

Response #2: 

I think anyone teaching this principle might well wish to do so.

Question #3: 

You wrote: The description of these "wing-powered wheels" overheard by Ezekiel and recorded in verse thirteen of chapter ten as the "whirlwind wheels" (Hebrew: galgal) is most revealing in this respect, for this image (i.e., of a funnel cloud) portrays substantial three dimensional depth just as a circularly rotating pair of wings (one from each side of the cherub) would possess, but which wheels alone would not.

I know that scripture only tells us so much about this, so perhaps to have a complete picture here might be difficult, but I would still ask you to try and explain how these wing-wheels operate, I still struggle to envisage that.

Response #3: 

I'm not sure I can get any more specific. The wings (one set) are somehow interlaced with the wheels and cause them to whirr and rotate.

Question #4:   

In regard to what you wrote about the faces of the cherubs (link), I can see how each of these faces corresponds to a particular role of Jesus Christ or an aspect of His lordship, but it's harder for me to link them with particular ages. The human face symbolizing the Church Age and the eagle face symbolizing the Millennial age are understandable, but I'm unclear about the bullock face standing for the Gentile age and the lion face standing for the Jewish age.

Response #4: 

The Lord is of the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Rev.5:5; cf. Gen.49:8-12), accounting for the Jewish age symbolism. As to the age of the Gentiles which preceded it, as the premier sacrificial animal, the bullock may be taken to represent God's provision for salvation before written revelation was provided. When Adam and Eve are clothed "with hides", it is probable that the skins of bullocks are meant (the word also means "leather"). And as soon as men began to "call upon the Name of the Lord" they represented the Substitute with just such offerings.

Question #5: 

You wrote: All four faces of the cherubim are entirely obscured in Isaiah (Is.6:1-7), because as the cherubs hover over the throne of God, they cover their faces with one set of wings (so as not to look upon the glory of God). In Ezekiel (Ezek.1:4-26; 10:1-22; 41:18-20), the cherubs (along with their wing-wheels) are positioned under the chariot throne, so that no veiling of their faces is necessary. All four faces, as a result, were visible to Ezekiel. In Revelation (Rev.4:6-8), the cherubs encircle the throne and are part of it (i.e., in direct contact with it), but are not positioned so as to provide locomotion (i.e., they have rotated into a guardian position). Here, they are roughly on the level of God's throne (i.e., not completely below it as in Ezekiel, nor hovering above it as in Isaiah). As a result, we may surmise that they are seen by John covering all but their outward looking face (so that he can describe them as if they had only one face).

I think I can follow you here, but one question would be why the cherubs have to have all their faces covered when being above the throne, but can have the outward looking face uncovered when level with the throne? I would have thought that from their perspective both situations are the same - covering all but the outward looking face would suffice? Similarly, why can they have all their faces uncovered when being below the throne?

Response #5: 

This is symbolic of respect for the authority and majesty of the Lord, so I would surmise, irrespective of actual perspective, that "above" otherwise represents superiority (hence the need for total deference); "level" represent equality (but not being actually equal to God requires that to be represented by partial deference), and "below" is clearly subordinate symbolically and thus removes the need for any additional sign of deference.

Question #6:  

You wrote: Given that they are described in regal terms, we may assume that these (kingly) elders are mimicked in Satan's system by the "thrones" mentioned in Colossians 1:16.

I have browsed through our correspondence on this verse, but I'm still unsure about it. From the above I would gather that satanic equivalent of the elect thrones is mentioned in Colossians 1:16. But in one of your replies you wrote "Colossians 1:16 mentions "thrones" as part of the original system the Lord created". Your explanation of who is meant in this verse would be appreciated.

Response #6: 

Reconstructing the opposing angelic orders of battle is no easy task because we are not given as much to work with as we would like (though we are given exactly what we need to discover what we need to know). It seems clear from examining the passages which discuss these things that Satan's organization is based upon God's original disposition, with the main difference being an inflation of rank in the devil's system (so by joining him many if not most of the demons got an ostensible "promotion"). As to "thrones" in particular, the 24 elders have "thrones" (even if they are not describes as "thrones"), so the right to have this trapping of power is certainly something extent within the Lord's system (cf. also the throne of God the Father, the "great white throne" of judgment, and Lk.22:30 and Rev.20:4). From my studies on this I have posited that the position of "throne" is the highest office in the devil's system.

Question #7: 

What I meant here is that I may be misunderstanding you here, as it seemed to me that you made a reference to the "thrones" in Colossians 1:16 as being a part of the Satanic System in Angelology, but of the "original system the Lord created" in our correspondence in the past, hence my uncertainty.

Response #7:

We deduce from the existence of an egg the existence of a chicken; we deduce from the existence of a satanic category of "thrones" a parallel category from which the devil has borrowed. The fact that the elders described in Revelation have thrones is an additional point of proof for the parallel between elders who sit on thrones and "thrones" as a title for this high ranking category.

Question #8: 

You wrote: Since this college of elders must post-date Satan's rebellions (because it is based upon six clans rather than nine), we should also understand these twenty-four angels to have gained their positions through meritorious service in the cause of our Lord. This should serve as a reminder to all who consider it of the great value of being and remaining loyal to the Lord, and of the exceptional benefits promised to those who excel in the struggle in which we are now engaged.

How do we know that elders are based upon six clans?

Response #8: 

In Ezekiel 28:13 we find that the angels "tribes" (I call them "clans" to distinguish them from the tribes of Israel which are similarly symbolized) were represented by nine gemstones, paralleling the twelve gemstones that represent the twelve tribes of Israel (and of the entire Church, eventually). One third rebel to follow the devil: three of the nine, leaving six. It is not unusual in actual human history for there to be three subdivisions of a tribe / clan (in fact it seems to be the rule in Indo-European pre-history, for example). So I have posited four elders from each clan as the reason for there being twenty-four elders.

Question #9:  

A question on your treatment of authorities, powers and spirits: The ranking of cherubs as the first and elders as the second rank is quite clear and looks also to be based on their closeness to God. It also seems that there is evidence for putting archangels as the third, but as for the "Authorities" and "Powers", I find it difficult to arrive at a clear rank based on the verses you quoted. There doesn't seem to be a lot of scriptures that teach the subject and it's hard for me to see how we can describe them and place them in this hierarchy. Maybe if you could briefly discuss the key verses showing that by "authorities" an angelic rank is meant and then what allows us to place both "authorities" and "powers" in this particular place in the hierarchy, that would help a lot.

Response #9: 

Everything I have been able to discover on this is to be found at the link in BB 2A under "The organization of fallen angels". As I say there, in regard to "authorities" and "powers", the order I posit is derived from the names themselves and how they and the terms they are derived from are used in the Bible, and also from the order in which these ranks are listed in scripture; cf. Col.1:16 where the order of (legitimate ranks usurped in part by the devil) is: "thrones / powers / rulers / authorities".

Question #10: 

On "thrones in particular, there doesn't seem to be a lot of evidence for the "thrones" as an angelic rank. In the whole paragraph there are a few references to the elect thrones to draw the contrast and others on related areas, but it seems difficult to see this rank clearly presented in the scripture? I initially thought that Daniel 10:13 was one verse in this section where a throne is described, but in the next section you use this reference for the "princes". So I'm actually not sure if there are any references to the "thrones" given?

Response #10: 

The locus classicus reference is Colossians 1:16 where "thrones, authorities, rulers or powers" are mentioned in that order. The order is very clearly a descending one, and that matches also what we know about these words and Pauline usage of them elsewhere. Furthermore, the bottom two, "rulers and powers", are found in the next chapter in what is clearly a reference to demons (Col.2:15). So while it is true that Colossians 2:15 is not necessarily meant to be directed only at Satan's organization (both humans and elect angels occupy such offices), the fact that Colossians specifically does mention two of these offices in the context of the warfare between the Lord and Satan is significant. Also, the entire book of Colossians is concerned with undermining the Gnostic heresy which was plaguing Colossae in Paul's absence (note the many references to pleroma and related words in that book; see the link), and Gnosticism was of course very much concerned with angels. So I think we would be incorrect not to find in Colossians 1:16 an essential ranking order of the devil's top lieutenants. As explained in the discussion of both the elect and fallen angelic organizations, "thrones" would thus be a very high demon rank, with only the devil himself not mentioned. Since he is a cherub, the next rank would be elders on the elect side ("thrones" being the demon equivalent – note that the 24 elders have literal thrones and perhaps this is the reason for Satan's choice of terminology, suggesting a desire for his elite to replace the elect elders on their thrones just as he wishes to replace God on His throne).

Question #11:  

How do we know that Ephesians 1:21 and 3:10, Colossians 1:16 and 2:10 and 1 Peter 3:22 refer to the fallen Authorities rather than the elect ones?

Response #11: 

On Col.1:16, see preceding discussion. As to Col.2:10, this reference directly precedes the very clear connection a few verses later using the same words; that suggests that we should have to find a reason not to make the obvious connection. That doesn't mean that "all power and authority" in Colossians 2:10 doesn't include elect and human "power and authority" as well, but we certainly can't rule out demonic "power and authority", especially since five verses later that is specifically what is meant. In the Spirit, Paul had this final reference (i.e., Col.2:15) and its meaning in mind when he used the terms twice before in the book. 1st Peter 3:22 seems to me to be very clear. Just as in Colossians 2:15 where we see the victory of the cross being won over satanic resistance (as well as over sin), so also the Greek in 1Pet.3:22 suggests defeat through victory as the reason for the subordination mentioned; our Lord's superiority over angels generally is a result of who He is, the Son of God (as Hebrews chapters one and two make very clear); but He also won His superiority (in His humanity) over Satan and the demons by His victory on the cross (and that is what 1Pet.3:22 is referring to).

Question #12:  

You wrote: They are actually called "powers" in the majority of passages in which reference is made to them (1Cor.15:24; Eph.1:21; 1Pet.3:22).

How do we know that Ephesians 1:21 and 1 Peter 3:22 refer to the ranks of demonic angels? The latter verse says:

1 Peter 3:22 (NASB)
who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him.

Since Peter distinguishes between "angels and authorities and powers", could it not be that authorities and powers are actually not angels?

Response #12: 

"Powers" in scripture always refers to angels when it describes offices, and we have seen also that the plural "authorities" is frequently used of angels in the Bible – in fact the word is never used where angels are at least not part of the "authorities" mentioned. The context of 1st Peter 3:22 is a supernatural one – Christ's ascension to the third heaven. Human authority has to do with earth, not heaven. Our Lord's authority will be directly asserted over earth as well, but not until He establishes the kingdom at the second advent. The real  "problem" here why it says "angels" then adds other offices which are also held by angels.  But that is an English-centered problem since we use the word "angel" in a generic sense which is not precisely parallel to Greek and Hebrew usage where the word "angel" also means "messenger" and sometimes "[divine] apparition"; and occasionally, as it does here in 1Pet.3:22, "angel" means "exceptional [i.e., arch-] angel".  That explains why it is listed first in the order of the three.

Question #13: 

On "Lordships", how can we establish the link between all the passages which mention demons, evil or unclean spirits and the rank "lord"? If my understanding is correct, this conclusion is based on Colossians 1:16, but how can we arrive at it and know that it is specifically the rank and file fallen angel that is meant?

Response #13: 

To begin, as mentioned earlier sometimes we only have one passage of scripture to guide us, but that is enough if we are correct in our method. Colossians 1:16 gives a "pecking order" of the fallen angels based on comparison with other places where these words occur in Colossians and elsewhere and also based upon the meanings of the words themselves and how they are used in their contexts. We know from a number of places in scripture that there is a hierarchy of both elect and fallen angels, and we are given some information about that structure. All I have done is to do my best to reconstruct it as far as scripture allows us to do so. If we said that these words are all just synonyms that would be wrong; if we said "it doesn't matter what the hierarchy is", while I can understand such a statement I do believe that everything in scripture is given to us for a reason. Since there is a hierarchy and since we are given information about it, it seems to me that we are charged as those who teach the Bible to do our best to reconstruct it. That is what I have attempted to do. So while I'm happy to explain my conclusions and my method, it's important to point out that each of these points is inter-related in the sense that what I have done is to posit a hierarchy based upon scriptural guidance, fit all the information we are given into that framework, then test it and then teach it. If there is something wrong, I'm happy to change it. I do understand that the information is limited. That is true of many biblical subjects. We attempt to come to the right conclusions regardless of whether there is only a little, a middling amount, or a treasure of data – and many have made serious mistakes in all these situations. I would never demand that a person believe (let alone teach) anything he was not comfortable with because of not being convicted of the truth of it from scripture. What that should occasion, however, is a detailed personal study which seeks to get to the bottom of things. This is what I have done also. In some cases, where I discovered that the "received wisdom" was lacking (in large or small part); in other cases, I had the truth of what I had been taught confirmed (but was more solid in my faith for having "done the math" myself).

As regards to "lordships" in particular, first, the word "demon" is only really negative in our reception of the New Testament and translation of it. It is a positive word in ancient Greece, meaning a "minor divinity" as opposed to a "full-fledged god". Any word can pick up negative connotations (e.g., "sophist" – which etymologically ought to mean "practitioner of wisdom" but has come to mean "rhetorical charlatan"). The fact that "demon" in its original meaning was arguably more positive and higher ranking than merely "angel" (used out of any context or order scheme) supports the idea of satanic inflation of rank for his rebels. The fact that "lordships" is likewise an elevated term ("minor human royalty" paralleling "minor divinity"), but last on the list absolutely in Colossians 1:16, argues for the term referring to the rank and file, all of whom are "officers" in the devil's system – at least in name. This was one of Satan's selling points: there were to be no "privates" in his army.

Question #14:   

How do we know that the demon horde of the second woe / sixth trumpet (Rev.9:13ff.) is bound within the Abyss? The verse says that they are "bound at the great river Euphrates", but the Abyss is not mentioned?

Response #14: 

First, they are (obviously, I would hope) not bound "at a river"; what would that even mean? The Euphrates is 1,740 miles long! Greek word order is not the same as in English and in the NT in particular there are a number of places where assuming that a modifier (clause / adverb / prepositional phrase) "must" go with X because it is close to X is incorrect since it really goes with Y (even though we wouldn't say it that way in English). The verse actually says "release at the river Euphrates the four angels who are bound" – and we know from other places that it is in the Abyss that fallen angels when imprisoned are always "bound" (2Pet.2:4; Jude 1:9).

Question #15: 

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

Just realized something from your teaching on Angelology about the 24 Elders. Now a bunch of so-called end-time Bible teachers/scholars ? teach that the 24 Elders referred to Rev. 4:4 are the 12 Tribes and the 12 Apostles. That has never set right with me and I found out why from your study.

Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads.

Here is your statement:

You wrote: This left six loyalist clans, and we may understand the twenty-four angelic elders as clan leaders, with four elders for each of the six angelic divisions remaining faithful to God and rejecting the devil's appeals for rebellion (cf. Rev.4:4).

Now this clicks with me, and I totally agree with your statement. Another false teaching by these so-called teachers/scholars. Still looking and studying Angelology, it takes a while. Heard anything from your stepson about his job? Have prayed every day for him.

Sure appreciate your clarity and power packed studies. Finally met someone who really knows what the Bible is saying. Many pastors don't know even a smidgen nor have even a fraction of the knowledge you have. Lot's and Lot's of false teaching from them.

Blessings to you always, and may God continue to use you in a mighty way.

Your friend,

Response #15: 

Thanks for your good efforts in prayer on our behalf, my friend! They are truly appreciated. He got a big raise and an assistant in his old job, so he's pretty happy there right now! I'm keeping you and your family in my prayers as well.

Thanks for your encouragement on this issue in angelology as well. When he beheld these elders John was viewing what was actually happening in heaven at the time in ca. 64-68 some two thousand years before any human being other than Christ would be resurrected. Also, although John is clearly an apostle he could not have been one of the 24 – which would leave out the other apostles. That begs the questions of who then would be worthy if not they? These 24 are angels.

Here are some links:

The 24 Elders

More on the 24 Elders

How do we know they are angels?

The crowns of the elders

Elders (in angelic issues VI)

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #16:  

Hello Dr. Luginbill, I continue to enjoy your site and emails. An email posted for 8/20 talked about the transporting of Lazarus by an angel and you and the person asking the question had a discussion that until we get out resurrected body we have to be transported by angels. Is that what you were saying? Are these angels our earthly guardian angels or special angels assigned for the purpose of taking the departed soul to heaven? Also what about the soul that is not going to be with the Lord because of denying Him and going to torments? Does this soul get transported by angels or just gets dumped out of the body and falls downward? A silly question I know but if the soul is immortal how does it get where it needs to go? I have also been listening to Pastor Omo's bible academy site (link) and enjoy his teaching so thank you for directing us to that site. Blessings,

Response #16: 

Always good to hear from you!

As to your question, the only thing the Bible has to say about this that I've ever been able to find is in the passage discussed which you mention (Lk.16:22). Lazarus spirit is taken (see the link for the critical difference between soul and spirit), our Lord tells us, "by the angels". If that was necessary before the ascension it stands to reason it is certainly also necessary in transporting the departed believer's spirit to the third heaven. All we are told about the rich man in this passage is that "he was buried", and in the very next verse he was "in Hades". It stands to reason that angels would likewise have to be involved in taking departed unbelievers to Torments (the compartment of Hades reserved for deceased, non-believing human beings), but we are never given any details of the process. As to "which angels", I would note that the Lord uses a plural here in Lazarus' case, and also that in terms of guardian angels, these are also never spelled out as being singular, though that might be true in some cases. It would certainly make sense that if we are guarded by one or a group of particular angels throughout our lives that they would be the one(s) to take our spirit to be with the Lord, but I can't be dogmatic about this since we are dealing with a number of hypotheticals. Still, something like this would seem to be the case necessarily, based upon what we are told.

Glad to hear that you are enjoying pastor Omo's website!

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #17: 

So Dr. Luginbill does the unbeliever have a earthly guardian angel or just believers? Does God only give believers angel? So then when nonbelievers die would some angel from the 'pool' be sent to transport the soul or does scripture not tell us any of this. I know it is trivial but peaked my interest. As always thanks for your quick response

Response #17:

Our Lord only mentions "their angels" when speaking about "little ones" (children) in the context of being wary of offending them (Matt.18:10), and most young children capable of offense in this way will not have faced the choice of belief as yet. So it's an interesting question. It's hard to be dogmatic. Our Lord came to Israel as her Messiah, and all Israel was supposed to be a believing nation without exception. That of course never came close to being the case, and certainly not during our Lord's first advent in spite of all He did for them. I think it is fair to say that, on the basis of these and other passages, that angels are more involved in the day to day lives of living human beings than we are personally aware (cf. 2Ki.6:17). But the Bible does not specifically say that elect angels are "detailed" to follow unbelievers, nor even that angels conduct unbelievers to Torments (although as I say it does stand to reason). So I think I have exhausted what the evidence from scripture allows me to say on this subject. It's no sin to think about these things and speculate, as long as we keep separate what is clearly taught, what is reasonable to deduce, and what is merely hypothetical (the latter should never be used to build doctrine or even direct application).

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #18: 

OK, Dr. Luginbill, I appreciate your help in trying to answer these questions for me. Whatever the Lord has in His plan I may not be able know or understood while in this earthly abode so I'll not pursue this further but continue reading the Bible and seeking answers. I know His plans for me are good! Thanks and blessings,

Response #18: 

You're most welcome!

Thanks for understanding!

In our dear Lord Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #19:  

Hi Bob,

"It is for this reason that a woman ought to have authority over her own head, because of the angels."
(1 Corinthians 11:10)

To the elect angels, something as trivial to us as not having a covering for a woman's head is considered to be so scandalous to the elect angels that it causes them spiritual trauma, or perhaps the closest thing angels have to PTSD.

So what does that mean about so-called "private" sexual sins such as pornography? If something as innocuous as not wearing a head covering disturbs the angels profoundly, then what would something as immoral and depraved as pornography do to them?

Response #19: 

I don't get from this passage that there is any "spiritual trauma" to the elect angels . . . from anything we do. They are spiritual beings and their plain of experience is different from ours. That does not mean that they are without emotion. There is "joy in heaven" among them whenever someone turns back to the Lord, and that is in fact the grounds for their interest, namely, their engagement in this fight along with us and therefore their interest in us doing well instead of ill. So the reason Paul brings in angels is to remind the Corinthians that we are not living our lives un-inspected or unobserved. We are witnesses "to men and angels both" (1Cor.4:9), and it is in this sense that our behavior should be proper in every way, especially in all circumstances which have to do with things visible (as opposed to things in our hearts which only God can know): it's not encouraging to our teammates to be seen "dropping the ball", so to speak.

As to the analogy, indeed, whatever we do that may be observed by either men or angels, if it is bad, is a bad witness. Such things are an encouragement to the evil one and his followers and the opposite to our angelic brethren who are on the same team. Paul's remark reminds us that this is very much a group effort. It is not a good idea nor spiritually beneficial to begin seeing angels everywhere (good or bad ones), but it is a good policy to know all the Bible has to say about all issues and use that truth for our spiritual growth and advance. We are part of this battle between the devil and his forces and those of the Lord – indeed our creation is integral to it (as the SR series lays out). Remembering or being reminded as by Paul here from time to time of this truth is a good thing (although as I say obsessing about it is a mistake; cf. Col.2:18). For in doing so we are forced to see that this is not just about us: we are part of something much bigger, and it is good not to let our teammates down (good for us as well as for them).

In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #20: 

Hi Dr.

I am reading your CT series again and curious will the role of the guardian Cherubs change in eternity? There is no threat to God's Throne since evil had been abolished at the Cross amid the conclusion of the Millennium rule of our Lord. A caveat, I know there was never a real threat to God control of His universe but the threat I am talking about is guarding His holiness. I hope I am explaining it correctly without trying to diminish God.

In rereading Rev 4:8 again, I am under the impression their role will revert to being continual worshipers of God rather than a dual application of guardian and worshipers currently. All creatures will be worshiping our blessed Lord and His Son in the blessed eternity to come.

Thank you

Response #20: 

I think you are on the right track. You are absolutely correct that there was never any threat that could ever possibly be serious to God, and also that in eternity there will not even be any threats of any kind at all. We note that even so the New Jerusalem will have an impressively high wall. So separation for the purpose of symbolism and also for memorialization will still be appropriate during that wonderful time to come.

How, precisely, we will spend our "time" once time is no longer an issue is something about which we don't know as much now as we would like to know, but that is no doubt for the good. On the one hand, if we knew it might prove a distraction to doing what we need to do here and now, and on the other hand it might prove a confusion since we really cannot appreciate and fully understand what is eternity is like before we are "there" in resurrection bodies. It is important to point out in this regard that these highest ranking members of the angelic order, the cherubs, have – no doubt as part of their reward – the privilege of being closer to the Lord than anyone else, taking the lead in the worship of Him (cf. Ezek.44:28).

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior whom we breathlessly await.

Bob L.

Question #21:  

2 Chronicles 3:10 (NIV)
For the Most Holy Place he made a pair of sculptured cherubim and overlaid them with gold.

I asked you about this verse, not being sure about the position of the cherubim. Regarding this, you wrote:

As to the orientation of the cherubs, the temple itself is oriented east to west with Solomon's added cherubs on the west interior wall. The orientation of the ark has often been misunderstood, but it was positioned length-wise with its long access parallel to the long access of the temple. The two cherubs on the mercy seat were on the outsides of the cover (otherwise they would have obscured the view of the "chariot" and also would have prevented the high priest from directly pouring out the blood on the Day of Atonement). So the two cherubs on top of the ark face each other north and south, while the two on the back wall represent the east-west looking cherubs (in accordance with the 3-D representational convention of the time).

I'm still unsure about this. If the ark is positioned length-wise with its long access parallel to the long access of the temple, then, if my understanding is correct, for the two cherubim to be on the outsides of the cover, they would have to be positioned at the west and east ends of the ark, so that there is no cherub on long side of the ark in order for the priest to be able to pour out the blood. But if that's the case, and if the cherubim face each other in such a setting, then they would be facing east and west, and not north and south. For them to face north and south, they would have to be positioned on the long side of the ark. Could you clarify this?

Response #21: 

This is the assumption most people make, to wit, that the cherubs are positioned parallel to the long axis of the ark. But that is not the case. The ark was about three feet wide – more than ample distance to place two cherubs (perhaps a foot wide and two feet tall?) facing each other and parallel to the short axis of the ark. This is the only reconstruction that works, in my view, because otherwise the high priest would have to walk around to the side of the ark to pour out the blood, something that not only is not indicated from anything in scripture but also would seem to vitiated the symbolism of our Lord's direct ascension to the Father. Most people don't see a problem here because they wrongly assume that the ark was situated with the long axis positioned north to south. However, that would be like parking a car in the garage sideways (and the ark represents the Lord's battle-chariot, after all), and also, of course, it would mean that the poles would not stick out of the holy of holies under any circumstances (2Chron.5:9 – the result of Solomon adding something to the rear wall of the holy of holies, namely, the two olive-wood cherubim) which reduced the space – since in that case they too would then be positioned north to south, not east to west.

Question #22:  

Ok, I understand the position of the two cherubs on the ark and I can envisage that. One question that remains is how the two cherubs on the west wall could face east and west? It would seem more natural to have a picture of their profiles facing each other, but that would make them face north and south, like the two on the ark. So the only way I can think of that they can look east and west is for one representation showing the cherub's front and the other - another cherub's back. Is that how it was done?

Response #22: 

The issue here revolve around what is meant by Old Testament representational artistic technique. One finds in much of the art of the ancient middle east an inability when working with a 2D surface to present things in what appears to be a 3D way (which is of course basic today). Whether or not artists of that time could do so is a moot point because they usually did not do so, and still did not do so from what we can ascertain from the archaeological evidence in Solomon's day. So it's not the actual 2D direction that counts but the way that these figures would have been perceived in that time and culture. The cherubs on the mercy seat look down on the seat ( from N/S); the two on the back wall of the inner sanctum are on a N/S wall, but they represent E/W facing cherubs. Without an actual picture of them, it's a bit difficult for me to describe (not being any kind of an artist myself, you're going to have to make do without a picture).

Question #23: 

Dear Robert,

Regarding 1 Peter 3:19-20 you believe this is referring to Jesus proclaiming to the demons his victory and their defeat. How can this be since demons roam throughout the world and inhabit people and in Job Satan was able to roam throughout the earth and had easy access to God. Did Jesus just preach to some of the demons in hell?

These verses are difficult I would appreciate any ideas you have.

Thanks,

Response #23: 

Some demons are at presently large; some have been confined to the Abyss (and many if not all of this later group will be released in the Tribulation during the fifth and sixth trumpet judgments). The presently incarcerated demons were cast into the Abyss at the time of the great flood for violating the "ground rules" for the present, invisible conflict swirling around us:

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment;
2nd Peter 2:4 NIV

The "hell" here is Tartarus, another name for the Abyss (so NIV's translation is not the best: Hades has multiple compartments; see the link).

There is much more about all of this in the Satanic Rebellion series (and elsewhere at Ichthys). I would recommend in particular Bible Basics 2: Angelology where most of the issues surrounding this one are covered in one way or another – but do feel free to right me back about any of the above.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #24:   

Thanks as always.

While we are on the subject of Jesus, I was wondering about a few more questions.

1) How did the demons in Matthew 8:28-29 know that Jesus was the Son of God?

2) What type of faith did Satan and his angels lack? They knew God was one because they were in his presence, but what made them think that a righteous God would not punish sin at some point?

3) Will the resurrection be a second and last chance for some? And who exactly will be resurrected to the 1000 year rule of Christ? My wonder is, how do some make it to the point of the thousand year rule, and fall away after that when Satan is released for the final time?

Response #24: 

And you are very welcome, as always.

On your current batch of questions:

1) The angels have been around for a very long time. We do not know exactly how long, but we do know that Satan's rebellion and fall was not immediate, that there was a period of intrigue required to "line up" one third to follow him, that there was a period of him being allowed to "run wild" on earth and experiment with his followers after that revolt but before the Genesis gap judgment, and that after the Lord blacked out the universe and filled it with the cosmic deep, there was a further time of "heel cooling" before He refashioned it into the "cosmos" we see now. On top of that, angels are not restricted in many of the ways that we human beings are. Their "bodies", whatever they consist of, are more resonant with the spiritual, and angels have been – with a near perfect knowledge – in the presence of the Lord for many thousands of years (at least – possibly much longer). So the "problem" is not one of "knowledge" but one of "will / choice". We do not know exactly when the Lord made known the details of the plan to create mankind and to bring the Messiah to earth to solve the problem of sin – but the devil has been attacking the line of the Messiah in order to prevent this from the very beginning of humankind so he must have a clear idea of the plan. Indeed, Satan and his minions are very aware of the "plan of God", since they are fighting tooth and nail to oppose it. They no doubt know the Bible better than any living believer could ever do. They just have no use for God. The coming of the Messiah was heralded by angels (Lk.2:13), and for all angels, elect and fallen, it was a seminal event:

And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, "Let all God’s angels worship him." (Deut.32:43).
Hebrews 1:6

2) Which brings us to your second question. Just as with human beings, salvation is not a question of knowledge. It is a question of choice and of will. Most believers have probably asked themselves at some point or another, "how can all these people reject Christ, given the eternal consequences?" Someone might reply that unbelievers don't really realize the import of the consequences. That is certainly true on one level. It's no doubt not really possible to realize how terrible the lake of fire will be until someone is in it; just as it's not really possible to realize how completely and ecstatically wonderful being in the presence of the Lord will be until we experience it first hand. If we were presented with either reality, it would be impossible not to worship Him on the one hand or have second thoughts about rejecting Him on the other. But that would take away free will. And this life, human and angelic history, is all about God selecting for Himself an eternal family composed of creatures who were willing to be part of that family and came into it by their own choice. The difference between human beings and angels is that we start out alienated from Him and have to choose to come back to Him – based on accepting the Person and work of Christ who died in the darkness for our sins in order for us to have the opportunity to do so. Angels, on the other hand, do not have the same "knowledge gap" between present "reality" and the eternity which we cannot yet see. So their process of choice was different: they started out in fellowship with Him and had to choose whether or not to stay or to reject Him and His authority. That an entire third of angelic kind would reject Him – out of perfect knowledge – says quit a lot about the incredible power of free will. It says, for one thing, that nothing can stop the fundamental choice of every creature to whom God gave His image from making the essential choice they really and truly desire to make. What makes it possible for human beings to reject the truth despite the consequences? In large part the fact that the consequences of the truth are veiled from our view. What makes it possible for angels to reject the truth despite the consequences? That same blinding effect of arrogance which takes away all reason and makes it possible to transform a lie into "the truth" . . . in the thinking of those concerned (cf. Ps.73:7-9; Job 20:6:

Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor.
Ezekiel 28:17a NIV

"Faith" is something that cannot really be divorced from action (cf. Rom.10:8-13; Jas.2:17-26). Therefore the word pistis in Greek very often means faith-fulness as well as faith. As you point out by referencing James 2:19, the knowledge the demons / fallen angels possess is a sort of "faith" but it is a dead faith without responsiveness. When we "put our faith" in Christ, we are "trusting in Him" (a heart response) to deliver us from sin and death – and so He has and does. And by becoming believers, we continue to respond to Him in faith ever after. It is true that we are not perfect in this and that some are highly imperfect, and it is also true that some are so bad that they are taken out of this world for their poor witness through the sin unto death. But for those who stop believing in Christ and abandon all response of faithfulness to Him whatsoever, reverting to being unbelievers as their faith dies out entirely, the result is apostasy and loss of salvation (2Pet.2:20-22). Angels, because of their nature, cannot fail to understand "the facts of eternity" with which we human beings have not yet been presented irrefutably, but they can decide to ignore those facts and do what they want to do anyway; the fallen angels do this (did this, that is), by allowing their arrogance to corrupt their thinking so as to believe lies instead of the truth – as in that the devil could actually win in a fight against God. It is ridiculous (see the link), but that is the measure of what arrogance can accomplish when it roots humility out of the heart entirely.

3) First, let me give you the correct translation of the passage in question:

(4) And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given to them (i.e., they sat in judgment), namely the persons who had been executed (lit., "beheaded with an ax") because of their witness for Jesus and because of the Word of God, [that is] whoever did not worship the beast or his image and did not take the mark on their forehead and on their hand. For they came to life and began to rule with Christ for a thousand years. (5) This is the first resurrection (i.e., that of all believers).
Revelation 20:4-5

The sentence which follows in many versions at the end of verse five above, "But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished" (KJV), is not in the actual text of the Bible (it is not present in the earliest and best ms.).

All believers who compose the Church (i.e., everyone from Adam and Eve until the last person saved in the Tribulation) will be resurrected when Christ returns at the second advent. And all of us will rule with Him as a result (e.g., Rev.2:27; 3:21) – not just the tribulational martyrs, though they are given special emphasis above as a means of encouraging those who will have to suffer this difficult fate to glorify the Lord. This resurrection of the entire Church which shares in Christ's millennial rule is the second phase of the resurrection described in 1st Corinthians 15:23:24. The last phase is composed of the Friends of the Bride, the Millennial believers who are resurrected at the end of history.

The rebellion described in Revelation 20:7-9 will be led by the devil but will be composed of human beings who grew up in the Millennium but who used the image of God they had been given to reject Christ in spite of His perfect rule and bountiful provision to them for a thousand years. It may seem incredible, but if angels who beheld His face with perfect knowledge for untold eons could reject Him, how much more sinful human beings who even so will only have a limited (relatively speaking) appreciation of eternal realities. This is the way God set things up so that we might "be who we wanted to be" and might have the eternal destiny we truly desire (see the link: "God's Plan to Save You"). We who believe truly desire to be with Him and worship Him. But unbelievers, while of course they don't want to be in the lake of fire, have no use for the Lord and are not willing to worship Him . . . not if they have any real choice in the matter, at any rate. They will receive what they have bargained for, as will the fallen angels, and will get what they desired most of all: an eternity without God – precisely the opposite of what we want.

Wishing you and yours a very merry Christmas and a happy 2017!

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #25: 

Hey Bob,

Longtime, no talk! I recently came upon Dr. Heiser discussing the Divine Council in his new book, The Unseen Realm (there are many Youtube video's presenting his Supernatural Biblical worldview). That man (God's portion) will replace the fallen angels (sons of God) in the new heaven & earth. Is there anything in this presentation, new to you?

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8Ou0_3DgBk

Response #25: 

Good to hear from you, my friend.

I haven't read the book (I note that it's "for sale").

As to the question about the Church replacing fallen angels, not only that, but in my view we will be instrumental at the resurrection in removing them from the world for the Millennial rule of Christ (please see the links: "The Participation of the Resurrected Church in Removing Satan's Forces (in CT 6)" and also "Believers replacing fallen angels"). 

As to "new things", I would be happy to address anything of note you'd like to talk about.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #26:  

Hello Dr Luginbill,

I was curious if you were familiar with Dr Michael Heiser and his work on Psalms 82 and the Divine Council? If so, do you share his viewpoint that the were gods, small g, that sits or sat with YHWH in the Divine Council and they may be the source of Greek and Roman mythology? Also that they gods were corrupt and Jesus's main mission was to reclaim the nations from them.

His work, like yours, is too extensive to write in an email but he has some interesting viewpoints and I was just wondering if you knew him. I suppose those who study ancient Biblical languages make up a small community.

Thanks,

Response #26: 

I haven't read the book(s), but I've received emails on this before. In a nutshell, it seems that "H" is trying to make a distinction between angels and "gods" based upon Hebrew poetic vocabulary where the Bible uses a variety of terms for angels; however, poetry in all languages is known for its flexibility in the use of a wider range of vocabulary for emotional, poetic effect.

Clearly, our Lord's mission was to redeem mankind from sin through His death on the cross wherein He propitiated every single sin. Anything that detracts from that truth (intentionally or not) is by definition a false teaching. In any case, the only other creatures in the universe with free will besides human beings are angels, and just as there are many "types" of human beings but we are all essentially the same, the same is true with angels (in terms of their rank).

Incidentally, the Hebrew name for God, 'elohiym, is the plural of a word meaning "mighty one", a plural of intensity in the case of God, but the word is sometimes used as a true plural, as in Psalm 82:1-7. So the use of other words to describe angels, elect or fallen, as "mighty" (such as, e.g., abiriyim; Ps.78:25) is not talking about some separate category of being or even a higher rank in a hierarchy; it's just a case of poetic variation.

As to H's thesis, it is also important to point out that the devil was an adversary before Adam and Eve even fell (he was the one who tempted them, after all), and that the conflict playing out on earth thus was already in full swing before the first human being (Cain) was ever born, whereas the origin of the nations post-dates the flood some two millennia later (as they all sprang from Noah's offspring). In other words, there's plenty of potentially dangerous misinformation in H's thesis, but I don't see anything positive coming out of it.

Here are a couple of links where I have fielded questions on H before:

Angelic Issues VI (Q/A #19)

Genesis Gap III (Q/A #6)

Do feel free to write me back about this.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #27: 

Just curious, the word for "women" in Zechariah 5:9, is H802 in Strong's - the word for woman, or female. Are not angels sexless? It is, however, the same word for the two women described in Ezekiel 23:2 - described as allegory (actually referring to nations) by the Spirit Himself immediately following the reference.

I do seem to be tending toward the more literal, I know... but I think that's where I'm being led.

Also curious about what age you were saved, if you don't mind sharing.

Response #27:

The word there is "women"; very often, angels are referred to as "man" or "men"; the word "angel" itself means "messenger" (i.e., it's only seems to be a generic class because of the way we think about the word in English); even in Greek, the word angelos means "messenger" (so this was a direct, conscious translation of the Hebrew mal'ach). Angels do not reproduce nor marry (n.b., Gen.3:15 and Gen.6:1ff. represent illicit actions); that does not mean that they do not have gender (they are not neuter in Hebrew; masculine, rather, except for this passage in Zechariah). Further, we human beings do most definitely have gender, and if angels did not, then the passages where we are told that we will be "like the angels" in resurrection would seem to have to mean that we will lose our gender in resurrection (Mk.22:30; Mk.12:25); not only is that antithetical to everything I read in scripture on the subject (since we will be "us" in resurrection – only better), but we also know from the post-resurrections of our Lord Jesus Christ that He is essentially the same; that is to say, still a man (e.g., Lk.24:18: "only" = Gk. monos, masc. – He most certainly appeared to be a male to His companions on the road to Emmaus).

Here are a few things I have written about this already:

Problems with female angels?

Female Angels?

Are there Female Angels?

More on Female Angels

As to Ezekiel 23:2, the two women are as you say meant to be taken allegorically there and we know this because that is explained in verse four. However, in the allegory, they are still women; similarly, even though the action in Zechariah 5:9 is allegorical, the two female angels are still female angels. The Spirit did not make up a category of being that does not exist in the Ezekiel passage, and I know of no biblical precedent for assuming that such is even permissible in terms of the passage in Zechariah (as I say, there is more about all of this in the links above).

On your other question, I don't know when I was saved, exactly; my best efforts to reconstruct this lead me back to a time when I couldn't have been more than four when I remember being haunted by images of graves and graveyards (I think this was just after my beloved paternal grandfather's death) – and then having a sense of great peace that everything was and would be alright. My dad was a Presbyterian minister so as a "p.k." I spent a lot of time in church. Some of it must have rubbed off early. However, like many p.k.s, it took a long time thereafter for me to finally "get with the program".

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #28: 

Hi Robert -

Before I say anything, let me just thank you for taking the time to reply. I'm sure you receive a lot of email questioning your views, and after sacrificing so much of your time to become educated to the point of mastery in the classics, and moreover freely sharing your gift of teaching the word of God, I imagine it can get tedious answering what are mostly lower level questions and challenges.

I'm sure my questions and challenges are no different, but please know I do appreciate your efforts. And if I ever come across as short or even confrontational, please know that I struggle with being overly direct, probably out of a simple bad habit of impatience. No disrespect is ever intended.

That said, I think the idea of the two women in Zechariah 5 being angels is one small area in which we disagree. I certainly never meant to imply that I thought that these two women in Ezekiel 24 (actually Israel and Samaria, according to The Lord) were some kind of new creatures in Zechariah 5. I do have an explanation of my view, but it is unimportant here, as the impact of this on anything of true importance is.

Response #28: 

No offense taken here. It would be uncommonly odd if one of my readers agreed with absolutely everything at Ichthys. Naturally, I do, or I wouldn't post it (and I do think if you read the links you might get a different perspective). I also certainly didn't mean to imply that you might be thinking that the two woman in Ezekiel were not human. What I was trying to do (and so clearly failed to do) was to demonstrate that to assume that two flying females in Zechariah are not angels is to overlook the fact that this would have to mean that Z is using a very strange literary device otherwise unparalleled elsewhere in scripture. I understand the problem with accepting this. It's very much like Genesis chapter six (lots of disagreement there too). But from a hermeneutic point of view, it's much easier in both cases to accept scripture at face value than to try and argue these things away (and biblically more defensible too, in my not so humble opinion).

Question #29:  

Dear Bob. I was searching the net to look for female angels for a discussion evening. It is quite revealing reading the defensiveness put up against the possibility of female Angels and is so revealing of the patriarchy present in the minds of your writers and sad. Hanging on to the thought that women are not equal to men is such a holdover from days gone by but I can see that if this argument suits a lifestyle or social need it could be argued using the very words of the male writers of the Bible. I doubt that God is stuck in the first few Centuries of recorded history so thanks for your enlightened sprit that is able to evolve as is I imagine what God wants, after all we have been given intelligence, creative minds, compassion, humanity and lives that continue through children well beyond 'biblical times'

Response #29: 

Good to make your acquaintance. Thanks for the encouraging email. This is one of many subjects in scripture where the Bible tells us less than we should like to know – but no doubt more than enough. Where it does weigh in, even if only in one or two places, well, there's no point trying to make a virtue out of ignorance or denying the plain truth of what scripture does say and what can reasonably be deduced as a result based upon sound hermeneutics. As you say, I have no doubt that prejudices and traditions of various sorts play a role in this, that is at least for all who are more interested in their traditions that in actually growing closer to Jesus Christ through His truth – which is the only way to do so.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob Luginbill

Question #30: 

Thanks for the previous answers.

Furthermore, I was wondering:

1) Prior to Jesus' ascension, did Satan hold people captive in the underworld?

2) How was the creation of Adam a second chance for the Angels that originally rebelled? What could they have done at that moment in time to have had a second chance with God?

Response #30: 

Hello Friend,

You are very welcome as always. As to your latest questions,

1) No. This idea of Satan ruling over hell is a medieval concoction with no scriptural basis. At present, only departed human beings who are unbelievers are present in Torments; there are a large number of demons in the Abyss, but they would much rather be at liberty (and will be released during the Tribulation); the devil has never even been to the underworld, but will be imprisoned in the Abyss during the Millennium (along with all of the fallen angels).

2) The creation of mankind demonstrates to the angels that Satan's slanders against God are completely untrue. The devil counted on his angels believing his lies to the effect that a) God could not actually judge him/them without judging all and without destroying everything and that it was impossible for Him to do so: simply put, that he and his could not be replaced; and that b) once a division had taken place there was no going back. The creation of mankind demonstrates that replacement is/was not only possible but achieved (incipiently); the promise of salvation to sinful mankind after the fall demonstrates that redemption / reconciliation is/was not only possible but promised (and fulfilled at the cross). In the event, neither the creation of mankind, nor the promise of salvation, nor the glory of the cross has changed a single fallen angel's mind (such is the nature of angels and their experience, different in so many ways from our own). So it is, it is true, merely a hypothetical last chance. But the mere fact that the Lord did not and up to now has not destroyed the devil and his angels is an indication that the complete refutation of the evil one and his lies is a central part of the plan of God. Had any of the demons had a change of heart, no doubt God could have provided the means for reconciliation. After all, He sent His only Son to die for the sins of every single human being even though only a very small fraction has/will respond to that ineffable gift of the cross. Since no fallen angels have/will respond, there is/was no need for the plan of God to provide for that hypothetical – but the principle has been made undeniably clear by all the Lord has done for us and through us human beings.

For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham's descendants.
Hebrews 2:16 NIV

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #31:  

Question: See Revelation 5:

1"I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a book written inside and on the back, sealed up with seven seals. 2And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, "Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?" 3And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the book or to look into it. 4Then I began to weep greatly because no one was found worthy to open the book or to look into it; 5and one of the elders said to me, "Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals."

Why, if John the Apostle, who wrote the Gospel, if indeed he is the same John who penned the Book of Revelation, or was it someone other than John the Apostle?, did he begin to weep greatly because no one was found worthy to open the book or to look into it? Surely, if he is John the apostle, he would have know that there is only one who is worthy, that is Jesus Christ the Lord.

Hmm. It appears to me that name John is in question. Who is this John? Secondly, one of the elders had to tell him who was worthy. The four living creatures and the twenty-four elders told John ? the reason why Jesus Christ the Lord was the only one worthy, in heaven, as Jesus was already in heaven.

Thirdly, Who are these 24 elders, some say one from each of the twelve tribes of Israel, and one from each of these twelve apostles, but one from each of these apostles can't be, if it includes John, or is it a different John who wrote the Gospel and the Book of Revelation. Hmm.

I know that you have the answers, and I anxiously await your response.

To Him is The Way, The Truth, and The Life, be glory forevermore.

Your friend,

Response #31: 

John the apostle did write the book of Revelation. If you found yourself in an ecstatic state and taken into the very presence of God Himself I can assure you that you would be thrown off your game too. Remember that John twice seeks to worship the angel speaking with him – so impressive are the sights, the sounds and the words he is given to experience (this does not come through, obviously, in a written text – we have to visualize it and we are very much limited in how we may do so). It is also the case that John is not the one looking for "someone worthy"; as he relates this, a search is made (not by him) and "no one is found"; i.e., this is what he is told. And so in this prophetic state he cries. So I think he can be forgiven for not coming up with an instantaneous "correct answer" when he was never even asked the question. Doesn't mean he wasn't the apostle John.

As to the 24 elders, they are angels, heads of the angelic clans, having earned their stations and rank in the conflict that took place before the world was judged, then restored, and mankind created upon it. They cannot possibly be anything other than angels because no human beings have been resurrected or rewarded at this point in the narrative which is taking place before the second advent. This is all described in detail in the SR series at the link in SR 4: "The Elders".

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #32:  

Doc,

I have two questions to ask and can you provide clarification please:

In Genesis 6:2 it uses the term "Sons of God". In John 1:12 it uses the term "Children of God", the KJV though uses "Sons of God". Taking into consideration John 1:13, I am assuming that because this verse says that these were "born of God", that this is the reason that "Children of God". In Genesis 6:2, the term "Sons of God", because these are angels (created) by God and not "born of God"? Can you please elucidate this for me?

John 1:11 it says "He came unto His own" using the Greek (Idia). In this save verse it says later "His own received Him not, using the Greek (Idioi). Why the two different Greek words which mean the same thing?

Thanks for you great help as always.

Your brother in Christ,

Response #32: 

Good to hear back from you, my friend. As to your questions:

1) In the Old Testament, this phrase beney ha-'elohiym ("sons of God" in the Hebrew) and its variants most often refers not to men but to angels (Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7 [anarthrous]; Ps.29:1 [cf. Ps.103:20; 148:2]; and Ps.89:6: beney-'elim). But the in the New Testament both "sons of God" and "children of God" refer to human beings, not angels. This no doubt has much to do with the fact that the Old Testament is written to the Jewish people, and they are "sons of Abraham" (and "sons of Israel"), with the covenant initiated by God in him being the focal point of relationship with God. In the New Testament, starting in the gospels, the relationship becomes not national and physical but international and spiritual, and that explains the shift in terminology because of the shift of emphasis. As to John 1:12, the Greek has "children", not "sons"; the KJV's eccentricity of translation in this passage is not due to any differences in the manuscript it used (the TR also has "children", tekna, not "sons", huioi); KJV does this also at Philippians 2:15, and 1st John 3:1-2 (but not in Rom.8:14; 8:19), for whatever reason.

2) It's a good catch on your part. John 1:11 says "He came to His own things [ta idia is neuter plural], but His own people [hoi idioi is masculine plural] did not receive Him" – meaning that our Lord was King by right of all to which He came, but the "sons of the kingdom" did not accept Him as the rightful Messiah.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #33: 

Q: Section II.5 (The Timing of the Satanic Rebellion) you wrote: "After the angels sing for joy with obvious relief at earth's re-creation (and the sea's restriction: Job 38:4-11), the temptation of Adam and Eve by Satan follows their creation in apparently rapid succession, leaving scant time for Satan's own fall and seduction of a large portion of angelic kind (Genesis 1-3; see Part 1 of this series)."

I didn't quite understand how this last part of your sentence links with the previous part (i.e. the temptation of Adam and Eve by Satan). Did not Satan fall down from heaven like lightning (Lk.10:18) during judgment of the original primeval earth? From my understanding in Part 1, was not his seduction of the fallen angels also during this time, which was, as you explained in part 2, the reason for the earth coming to be "ruined" and "despoiled" (Gen.1:2). Or is this latter part of the sentence referring to Satan's seduction to cohabitate with the daughters of men (Gen.6)? Why did this leave "scant time"?

Response #33: 

What I mean by this is that if there were no Genesis gap within which Satan had rebelled, and if instead his rebellion and seduction of one third of angelic kind is to be placed between the seven days of (what we know to be) re-creation and the fall in Genesis chapter three, this would seem to be an unworkable hypothesis because it allots "scant time" for what must have been a lengthy and certainly not an almost instantaneous process.

Question #34:   

With regards to your explanations of the Seven Edens, in particular the periods between the original Eden, Interim Third Heaven and Garden of Eden. I am trying to understand how Satan was expelled from the original Eden yet was 'allowed' to return to the Garden of Eden in the form of a serpent and tempt Eve? Was this a violation of forbidden territory? Where were the fallen angels and elect angels during the time of the Garden of Eden? From my understanding the Lord would commune with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day (Gen.3:8). Was this a pre-incarnate appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ? Was there another third heaven during this period where God the Father resided along with the angels?

Response #34: 

God could, of course, have annihilated Satan, or He could have consigned him and all of his followers immediately to the Abyss, or He could certainly have made it impossible for the devil ever to show up on earth. This was not the plan, however. Satan is allowed much – though not unlimited – latitude during the conflict now raging and will not be restricted from entering even into heaven (cf. Job 1-2) until he is "cast down" to the earth at the Tribulation's midpoint. Fallen angels do occasionally violate the apparent "ground rules" of the conflict – which explains why those involved in the pre-flood attempt to contaminate the entire human race were indeed confined to the Abyss. The original Eden no longer exists; it was destroyed in the Genesis Gap judgment. But just as the devil appears to this day in heaven to accuse believers, and just as he will be allowed to lead unbelievers astray during the waning days of the Millennium, so also he was allowed to tempt Eve which led to the fall. She was deceived, but she still did what she did – and Adam did what he did without being deceived (preferring the woman outside of the garden to the Lord inside of it). This is not at all unfair. People choose what they desire. The devil merely provides incitements to bring out what is deep inside. In the end, the plan of God will have perfectly distinguished those who wanted to be with the Lord more than this world (even with all of our faults and all of our Adam and Eve type vacillations under temptation) from those who preferred to be gods to themselves and had no need of Him whatsoever.

Question #35: 

You wrote: As terrestrial, corporeal creatures, mankind did not (and does not) possess an inherent knowledge of the spiritual realities of the universe, and was at the time incapable of leaving the earth in any case.

Where would it be possible to leave the earth to in the period of the Garden of Eden? Is this where the elect angels were when they shouted for joy at creation? And were the fallen angels and Satan separated from this same place where the elect angels resided?

Response #35: 

What I mean by this is that while angels are not restricted to the earth, mankind was before the fall as well as afterwards as long as the conflict continues for all in the first body. This limitation greatly reduces what we can know about the cosmos in this life. The relative ignorance of mankind versus that of the angels (so far) is the point of this sentence.

Question #36:  

You wrote: "… the devil has stepped up his operations (Matt.11:12), and these will find their most intense expression during the Great Tribulation when he is finally excluded from the heavens, once and for all (Rev.12:7-17)."

I am trying to reconcile how the devil is permitted to come before God and His angels in heaven, when yet for unbelievers a great chasm has been put in place between themselves and believers in the third heaven? Does this mean that the current third heaven also involves conflict? Or does the kingdom of heaven here refer to "heavens" (universe?) in general?

Response #36: 

We know from the first two chapters of Job (and elsewhere where the devil is described as accusing believers before God, e.g., Rev.12:10), that the conflict is constrained to "this cosmos" which means the earth and the first two heavens (not the third heaven above nor the netherworld below; see the link: "The Waters Above and Below"). In Matthew 11:12, we are the representatives on the King on earth and so we are the target's of the evil one at present.

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