Question #1: Hello Brother Bob, Are angels somehow empowered or reinforced by the prayers of God's people, perhaps to focus on a specific situation? I vaguely remember some passage dealing with this. God's Love to You.
I think that the passage you may have in mind is Daniel 10:12-14. In
that passage, Daniel has been praying for the relief of Jerusalem and
the angel who comes to communicate with him in response says that
Daniel's prayers were heard "since the first day", but that he was
hindered from coming until "Michael, one of the chief princes, came to
help me". This passage shows that there is much that goes on in the
angelic realm (especially in the area of conflict between the forces of
God and the forces of Satan) of which we human beings are unaware and
uninformed. The power of prayer is the power of God, and it is safe to
say that when we pray we are asking God to exert His power in our
behalf. He may choose to do this through angelic agency. If so, we are
likely going to be unaware of His use of this method of angelic
intervention (if He so chooses to use that method) until we are face to
face with Him on that great day. Clearly, direct visual and verbal
contact with angels is extremely unusual (and I would argue most likely
non-existent at the present time in keeping with the overall plan of God
to give the place of honor to the Word of God during Church age). The
Bible shows us that we are being deliberately kept in the dark about the
vast bulk of human-angelic interaction and the conflict swirling around
heads but invisible to our eyes (i.e., we know that it is going on but
we don't know the details and can't perceive the activities). Therefore,
my policy has always been "not to go beyond what is written", so I will
leave it at this except to say that, as you probably already know, there
is much related information (if not specifically directed to your
question) in the following studies: Bible
Basics 2A: Angelology; and
"The Satanic Rebellion
In our Lord Jesus,
Question #2: Dear sir:
I would first like to thank you for your excellent web site. A
tremendous amount of work went into both the translation, and then
writing of the bible studies, and I am grateful. At a recent bible study
we were studying Job, and the issue of angels came up. I have read your
bible study on this topic with great enthusiasm (the idea of two
creations is of particular interest to me...your translation seems to
make it seem impossible to have happened any other way...I have yet to
confront my pastors with this thought...wish me luck!), but my original
question remains: what is the scriptural basis for believing that the
"elect" angels are confirmed in their holiness, and can no longer fall
into sin. We knew this was our church's doctrine, but not sure where the
basis came from.
Thanking you in advance,
Response #2: Thank you for your
e-mail and especially for your words of appreciation and support. As to
your question, in general terms much of what we know about angels from
scripture comes from a combination of theological induction and
deduction based upon what the Bible does say (and, to a certain degree,
what it does not say).
That is to say, scripture as you know very well is not constructed like a text-book, and in the case of angels, the doctrines that pertain to them have to be developed (i.e., there is no "book of angels" that teaches principles about them directly). In my studies, I try to provide both the pertinent passages and the reasoning behind the points I teach. Where angelology is concerned, that often means observing how angels are described in scripture and drawing a set of conclusions that are then tested against other scriptures which deal with them. But as I say, angelology is a particularly delicate topic because while it is very important, it is has also been an area of much morbid speculation and clearly false teaching over the centuries. I assume from your e-mail that you are referring to the Bible Basics part 2A study, "Angelology". If so, I would recommend to you the Satanic Rebellion series (in five parts). For what we know about elect angels is in many respects deduced from what we know about fallen angels (whose leader and whose agenda is the subject of the aforementioned series).
It is an interesting question as to whether angels could indeed still have a change of heart. In my studies I teach that the creation of Adam and Eve was God's "last olive branch" to the fallen, because Adam and Eve were created to be among other things the basis for the replacement of Satan and his followers (who had arrogantly assumed they were irreplaceable). We know of course how the devil reacted, and despite the unquestionable nature of the defeat that is looming for Satan and his minions they are prophesied in scripture to hold fast to their course of violent and vigorous opposition – this despite the fact that as more or less "timeless" creatures of far fewer limitations than we have they "know" far better than we ever shall this side of heaven the power and the glory and the infinity of God.
As I have had occasion to say many times in the studies referenced above, it is not the case that God would or could fail to be merciful in regard to any fallen angel who repented (or could or would fail to act in complete justice and righteousness in the case of any elect angel who threw in his lot with the devil). Rather it is the case that everything scripture says about the angels – and it says quite a bit even if it is not couched in terms direct teaching – comports with the proposition that I teach (and apparently your church does as well) that angels are not changeable in their allegiance. I explain this by their non-material nature – they are not subject to the same pressures as we are and as creatures who are not subject to death or pain or poverty or any material need, coupled with the fact that their knowledge of God, who and what He is, is nigh-on as complete as a creature could ever have, make it reasonable to assume that once they were confronted by the choice of opposing God or following Him that this choice would be so completely and fully "informed" that there would be no further occasion to change. No "new information" or "life-changing" experience would possibly fall to their lot in the same way that these are such frequent occurrences in our case, for we are subject to the vagaries of life and as a class of creature live this life in great ignorance of the true realities out of our ken in heaven above. In any case, whether or not one accepts this rationale, this thesis that all angels are "solidly confirmed" now in their choice certainly does agree with the way that angels behave throughout the scriptures. From Genesis to Revelation there is never a hint of a fallen angel or an elect angel ever changing their allegiance, so that in practical terms they are confirmed, even if in theory they might still change.
I hope that this short answer is of some help. As I say, you can find these same arguments advanced in a good deal more detail in the at the links above.
In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
What is your take on Matthew 18:10? Your comments would be most greatly appreciated.
This passage is the one that is generally adduced to suggest that we all have guardian angels. I think it is clear from this passage and many others that our God superintends every aspect of our lives, and that He often uses angels to accomplish some of the things that He does for us. He certainly doesn't need to do it this way, but it's part of the overall plan of God to make use of creature free will (after all, He uses us too and He certainly doesn't need us). I guess the one other thing I would point out is that "angels" here is a plural, showing that there is plenty of elect angelic "help" to go around (i.e., no need to theorize a single, dedicated "guardian"). For more on angels in general please see Basics 2A: Angelology.
In the One who is in us and in whom we abide, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
If demons or angels cannot die, what happened to the legion of spirits after they went into the pigs that went into the lake and drowned?
Yes it is true. Angels of all types are incapable of death – at least until the time of the second death when all fallen angels will find themselves in the lake of fire along with all unbelievers. When a demon "host" dies, be it an animal or a human being, the demon (fallen angel) is merely without an animate abode. Demons have apparently craved material bodies from the beginning of the devil's revolt against God. To find out more about this subject, please see the following link: Satan's revolutionary platform (in Part 1 of Satan's Rebellion). Here is what I say about the passage you ask about in that context:
4. The Legion of Demons and the Swine: In Mark chapter 5, when Jesus cast the demon legion from a single man, these fallen spirits "begged" Him to "send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them" (v.12). There is very little to explain their motivation for this request until we accept that these satanic angels, being deprived of their human home, were desperate to regain some material adobe, be it ever so mean.
So I would say that
while scripture does not address the issue directly, it is clear from
the nature and behavior of angelic creatures as they are described
elsewhere in scripture that this "legion" of demons had to start the
process of possession all over again. They were fortunate not to have
been ejected from the area (cf. Mk.5:10), and what would have been far
worse for them, very fortunate not to have been cast into the Abyss,
something they feared even more than losing their fleshly toehold in
this region (cf. Lk.8:31). Countless demons are now incarcerated there
for one offense or another (many because of their involvement in the
Genesis 6 violation of divine commands; see the link:
Satan's antediluvian attack on the purity of the human line: the
Nephilim). But this legion of demons did find themselves
"disembodied" as a result of the death of the swine, something that they
did not want and something with which their master the devil would
surely not be pleased.
For more information on this subject in general see the following:
Bible Basics part 2A: Angelology: the biblical study of angels.
Yours in our Lord Jesus Christ,
Rob thank you very much
for being ever available. Like I said before I really believe you have
an anointing in matters of the Bible. Why don't you start a church, with
trained pastors and your teachings can be used together with the Bible?
I hope I'm not out of line. It is only that my heart bleeds when I see
so many cases of 'the blind leading the blind.' What good are your
online teachings if at the end of the day we go and fellowship in
churches where most of the pastors will be clearly struggling to
interpret the scripture? Secular education is also important especially
when it come to the exegesis of the scriptures. Your articles could do a
lot of people a lot of good but because they are online only those who
can go online can benefit.
Also, I have a specific question. There is this book 'Delivered from the Powers of Darkness' by one Emmanuel Amos Eni. I have never seen the original book but just some photocopies. They are myths about the book, people who were threatened after buying it and all sorts of mind boggling tales. The brother claims to have been made an agent of the devil (along with all sorts of outlandish claims that vex my spirit). His getting saved was also dramatic; he alleges to have met Jesus Christ. I will paste after this a page from his book. Something is not right. People here believe him and obviously are frightened. Are there any scriptures in support of these cultic experiences? I don't recall in scripture where it even remotely insinuate such deep intimate relationships between mortal humans and spiritual demons such as he reports.>
Quotes From 'Delivered From the Powers of Darkness'
There was this pastor - Pastor I.K. (name withheld). He was pastoring a church in Ebute Metta.
He became my target and his offences were:
1. He disturbs our peace by carrying out early morning call i.e. preaching in the early hours.
2. He goes about with his megaphones and stations at No. 2 bus-stop along Akintola road, Ebute Metta. There, he would preach. Would not stop at that bus but would keep binding demons etc.
3. In his church he would preach, exposing the works of darkness after which he started bindinng demons.
4. He prayed a lot.
5. He was always singing and praising God.
I sent my messengers to him but they could not kill him so I decided to carry out the mission myself. On the said day, I saw him walking along the new G.R.A. A thing worth mentioning here about this pastor is - anytime we went for him, we would see pillars of cloud by his right hand and left, walking along with him, so these hindered us. But this particular day I saw nothing so I was doubly sure my mission would be very successful.
I commanded rain to fall to enable me strike him with thunder. The rain started and the thundering began. The whole trees in the area started loosing their branches, but this Pastor was singing joyfully. I still remember the chorus - IN JESUS NAME EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW. As he continued with this chorus the rains stopped, the thundering seized and there appeared immediately two angels, one on each side, with flaming swords. Their eyes and their swords were like flames of fire. Then a strong wind carried me away and I found myself in another town. In fact I was baffled, but because we were so hardened, what I said was - This man has escaped again! The pastor did not know the spiritual war that was fought on his behalf...
So you see, the child of God is WELL SECURED. When the Bible says "...and NOTHING shall by ANY MEANS hurt you" it means what it says.
The second testimony is about a Christian who board the same taxi with me. He was very zealous and started distributing gospel tracts inside the taxi. So I became disturbed and knocked him with the ring on my finger - that was to kill him. This boy shouted "THE BLOOD OF JESUS" and immediately lightening and fire and an Angel appeared. A strong wind again removed me with great force out of the taxi and into the thick jungle. Had it not been that I was a man backed by evil powers I could have gotten lost in this jungle. The Christian did not know the war that went on his behalf, all he knew including the other passengers, was that I had disappeared from the taxi.
The name of Jesus or the Blood of Jesus in the mouth of the believer sends out fire etc. the Scripture says "THE NAME OF THE LORD IS A STRONG TOWER, the righteous runneth into it and is SAFE" (Prov. 18,10)
Hope to hear from you
-- as usual may God bless you.
Thanks as always for
your kind words. Please believe me when I say that there is no point in
getting excited about me personally. I am certainly no Paul, but he and
I at least share the characteristic that "his letters are weighty and
forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to
nothing" (2Cor.10:10). Anything good in these studies has been directed
by the Spirit, and only through a willing spirit and through the power
of the Spirit can the good in them be accessed. These materials are
on-line only because that is the only way I can make them available
without charging people money for them - something I am determined not
to do for a variety of reasons. And besides, I'm not sure that if they
were in a bookstore that people would necessarily buy them anyway (or
that if they did that they would actually read them). They are dense,
opaque even, and difficult to read and digest. Believe me when I say
that I understand your enthusiasm for the truth. When the Lord kindled
the same in me many years ago, I thought it would just be a matter of
presenting the opportunity for detailed biblical studies to various and
sundry persons and that they would be mad for it. In fact, very very few
people I have met in my life have any interest whatsoever in really
learning the truth of the Bible, even though that is the only way to
truly draw nearer to God and serve Jesus in the way He really wants. And
many if not most of those who have expressed some interest have never
been as passionate about it as I would have liked. In the U.S., we have
many "mega-churches" that draw thousands upon thousands every week. But
as far as I can tell, people come for the spectacle, for the music, for
the entertainment, for the ancillary services, and not really because
they think they are going to get deeper into the Bible. I have perfect
confidence in God that He can lead whomever He wants to this ministry.
Most people in the west (and many elsewhere) have access to the internet
or can get it if they really need it (and that is more and more the case
with each passing day). And anything at Ichthys can be downloaded and
off-printed and distributed free of charge (I only ask that a few hardly
onerous rules be followed: see the link: About
Ichthys). So while I sympathize with what you say about
availability, I think that you would find what I and some of my
like-minded potential pastor friends have found: we live in a world of
consumer-driven contemporary Christianity, and the number of people who
would be interested in a church where the teaching of the Word of God
really was the focus is very small –
and the number who would persevere
after expressing initial interest even smaller, especially once they
found out that pursuing the knowledge of the Lord in this correct way is
work-heavy and entertainment-light.
As to the question of occultism and the passage you have supplied, I can only say that I heartily agree with all you have said. I have put virtually all of what I have been able to learn about this subject into the Satanic Rebellion series (see especially in SR#4 section V, "Satan's World System: Tactical Methodology"). One of the problems with the very issue that we are discussing in this correspondence is that when Christians are too lazy to read the Bible and to study the Bible, they inevitably end up getting involved in areas of extra-biblical speculation because these are "fun". But of course, even if one sees oneself on the side of "good" in such invented "spiritual warfare", the very fact of that the person is doing and saying and thinking things that scripture does not teach or condone is extremely detrimental to spiritual health. I have heard a plethora of claims and stories in my day such as in the excerpt you have included here – but I have never actually personally seen (or seen any convincing evidence of) anything that scripture does not describe (just "stories" like you include). In this respect especially, "going beyond what is written" is a very bad idea. I make it a policy not to get excited about things that come from sources other than the Bible; I rejoice with anything that is biblical or to the extent that things which seem odd or strange (or wrong) are biblical; but I refrain from believing or encouraging or acquiescing in anything that is not directly suggested or taught by scripture – and I try to stay far, far away from things that seem to me to be definitely contrary to scripture. Anyone can write a story. Anyone can make one up. Anyone can take a story that is partly true and embellish it with elements that are not true. But we don't have to believe things that are not in line with the scriptures, no matter what human being is telling us to do so.
Hope this helps.
Yours in our Lord Jesus Christ who is the very Word of Truth.
I have a question regarding Rev. 20:13 with respect of the figurative/symbolic use of the word 'Sea'. While it can be logically suggested that the word 'Sea' represents an element/compartment of the underworld – Hades/Sheol/Abyss etc., I humbly ask, "Might it also equally be suggested that the word Sea represents the mass multitude of natural 'Living Dead – lost/sinners' that will yet be alive following the Millennial Reign of Christ, who will inevitably become part of the Second Resurrection/Second Death, immediately following the Great White Throne Judgment?" To this end, just as Apostle Paul declared a changing in the 'twinkling of an eye' for the natural 'Living Live – Saints/righteous, at the Coming of the Lord, (1 Cor. 15:52), will there be a reciprocal changing of the natural living dead just prior to the resurrection of 'Death and Hell' – an ironic inverse of the first resurrection wherein the dead in Christ rise before the transformation of the natural living in Christ?
In one sense I would
agree with you, namely, that the usage in Revelation 20:13 is clearly
meant to sum up "the dead" in toto, rather than to give us a set of
distinct categories. For the sea is not, strictly speaking, a
"compartment" of the nether-world, and only has that particular meaning
when it is being used as a synonym for Hades (which, more precisely
speaking, it covers).
Here is what I write about this subject in Part 2 of the Satanic Rebellion, The Genesis Gap:
This equating of the sea with the nether-world buried beneath it helps to explain the difficult passage in Revelation where we are told that at the final judgment, "the sea will give up her dead" (Rev.20:13). When John immediately adds to this statement that "death and Hades will give up their dead", he is merely explaining that in prophetic terms there is virtually no difference between the sea on the one hand and death-and-Hades on the other (a hendiadys for one single place: torments, or hell). These two venues are, from an earthly perspective, one and the same place (though, technically speaking, they are distinct: Hades is the place under the abyss or sea, and sea or abyss is what separates Hades from the world above): the sea (or, more properly, Hades-beneath-the-sea) is the present location of deceased unbelievers (believers have already been removed to heaven from Abraham's bosom at the ascension of Christ), and of the demons who are now imprisoned (cf. 2Pet.3:19-20; Jude 1:6-7; Rev.9:1-20). The latter, long since under sentence of judgment along with their leader, Satan (Jn.16:11), require no further adjudication after the Satanic rebellion is at last finally disposed. But "the dead" [unbelievers] in Hades, their abysmal place of incarceration lying below the sea's deepest depths, will stand judgment at the end of human history before being consigned to the lake of fire (Rev.20:11-15).
These "waters below"
the firmament are also helpfully viewed in tandem with the separating
function of the "waters above". From
Coming Tribulation 2B:
These "waters above" also serve an important separative purpose. Just as the firmament was re-constructed by God to separate and restrain the two sets of waters (Gen.1:6-7), so the "waters above" serve to separate the third heaven, the holy temple of God, from the corrupted world beneath. This separating function is clearly visible as well in the case of the "waters below" which stand in the progression of heaven-earth-"waters below" (cf. Ex.20:4) between the earth and the subterranean chambers of Hades beneath it (Job 26:5-6). That is why, for example, Hades is also occasionally referred to as the "abyss", in exactly the same conflation of technically distinct regions as we saw in the use of "firmament" for "waters above the firmament" in Ezekiel chapters one and ten - because Hades is far beneath these "waters below" and can only be accessed through them, it can be described in biblical terminology as part of the same conglomerate (in the same way that since both the heavens and the "waters above" must be penetrated in order to reach the third heaven, these two technically distinct regions can for many purposes be considered as if they were of a piece, just as the laver-sea and its waters are considered a unit). This separating function of the "waters below" also explains why in Revelation 20:13 it is "the sea" which is said to "give up her dead" - not because there are any departed spirits in the sea, but rather because the sea is the separating layer which "locks in", so to speak, the unsaved dead beneath, in Hades (Job 26:5-6; 38:16-17). The "waters above" likewise perform an analogous separating function, forming an important wall of division between the holy precinct of the third heaven above them and the kosmos of the devil, Satan's corrupt world, which lies below them.
Finally, Yes, I do
think that scripture is quite clear that the final resurrection of the
to include all those not yet resurrected at the end of time –
will be likewise immediate and comprehensive (1Cor.15:23-4;
Rev.20:11=15). Please see the following links:
The Resurrection (in Peter #20)
Transmutation, Resuscitation, and Resurrection
Sin, Baptism, and Resurrection
Aspects of the Resurrection I
Aspects of the Resurrection II
Hope this is of some
help to you - thanks as always for your kind words.
In our Lord Jesus,