GOD AND THE ANGELS

Introduction

"It is important to recognize...that God doesn't just sit in heaven and push buttons on a control panel. He uses "messengers," better known to us by the Greek word: angels. The Biblical view of the universe is not the modern one of vast reaches of barren space interrupted every couple of million miles or so by flying dead boulders. The Biblical view of the universe is that it is teeming and throbbing with life everywhere. The cosmos is heavily populated with "legions" and "myriads" of angelic beings, of various ranks (Colossians 1:16) and "species" (see, for instance, the descriptions in Ezekiel 1:5-25 and Revelation 4:6-8). Angels are associated with astronomical phenomena throughout the Bible (Judges 5:20; Job 38:7; Isaiah 14:13; Matthew 24:29; Jude 13; Revelation 1:20; 8:10-12; 9:1;12:4) as well as with the activity of the weather: wind, storms, and lightning are spoken of in connection with the actions of God and the angels in both blessing and curse (Genesis 8:1; 41:27; Exodus 10:13,19; 14:21; 15:10; 19:16; Numbers 11:31; Psalm 18:10; 104:3,4; 107:25; 135:7; 147:18;148:8; Ezekiel 1:4ff; Matthew 24:31; John 3:8; Acts 2:2; Revelation 7:1-3; 8:5,7; 16:8, 17, 18). Clearly, the Biblical worldview does not attribute changes in weather to impersonal "forces" or "processes,"

He makes the clouds his chariot
and rides on the wings of the wind.
He makes winds his messengers [angels],
flames of fire his servants.
(Psalm 104:3, 4, NIV)

"God controls the government of the universe," said Calvin. "No wind ever arises or increases except by God's express command." Further, "since angels are the powers of God, it follows that they never cease from their office of working. For God never can rest: he sustains the world by his energy, he governs everything however minute, so that not even a sparrow falls to the ground without his decree (Matthew 10:29)...God works continually by angels...so that all creatures are animated by angelic motion: not that there is a conversion of the angel into an ox or a man, but because God exerts and diffuses his energy in a secret manner, so that no creature is content with his own peculiar vigor, but is animated by angels themselves." Martin Luther, as usual more pithy and direct, took seriously the psalmist's statement that the wind has wings. After a particularly severe and violent storm, he offered his opinions on the subject: "The devil provokes such storms, but good winds are produced by good angels. Winds are nothing but spirits, either good or evil. The devil sits there and snorts, and so do the angels when the winds are salubrious."

"The Biblical worldview is uncompromising: God is running the world. Every atom in the universe is under His command. His Word created and sustains in Him. That is why He can assert His power and authority in such absolute terms:

I form the light and create darkness,
I make peace and create calamity,
I, the LORD, do all these things.
(Isaiah 45:7)

Who can speak and have it happen
if the LORD has not decreed it?
Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
that both calamities and good things come?

(Lamentations 3:37, 38, NIV)"

(from Power in the Blood, by David Chilton, p66-67, Wolgemuth and Hyatt, Brentwood, TN, 1987)

Art work by Rodney rtreadway@excite.com (by permission)

The Creation of the Angels

The angels were created sometime during creation week, after Genesis 1:1. They were not in existence prior to that. It is most likely the angels were created early-on, as they were apparently observers of the work of creation.

Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens, praise him in the heights! Praise him, all his angels, praise him, all his host! Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars! Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens! Let them praise the name of the LORD! For he commanded and they were created. And he established them for ever and ever; he fixed their bounds which cannot be passed.Praise the LORD from the earth, you sea monsters and all deeps, fire and hail, snow and frost, stormy wind fulfilling his command! Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars! Beasts and all cattle, creeping things and flying birds! Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth! Young men and maidens together, old men and children! Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his glory is above earth and heaven. He has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his saints, for the people of Israel who are near to him. Praise the LORD! (Psalm 148)

The association of the angels with the stars suggests that the angels were created one by one, and each named, as the stars are all named, "He determines the number of the stars, he gives to all of them their names." (Psalm 147:4)

God questioned Job about his knowledge of the creation,"Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements --surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God [bene elohim, the angels] shouted for joy?" (Job 38:4-7)

The angels belong to ranks and orders, but they are not related to one another, that is they are not a connected race as we are. The Letter to the Hebrews tells us that salvation is not offered to the angels but is reserved for the human family, for the descendants of Adam.

...we see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for every one. For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through suffering. For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified have all one origin. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, "I will proclaim thy name to my brethren, in the midst of the congregation I will praise thee." And again, "I will put my trust in him." And again, "Here am I, and the children God has given me." Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same nature, that through death he might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage. For surely it is not with angels that he is concerned but with the descendants of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brethren in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make expiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered and been tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted. (Hebrews 2:9-18)

The Inhabitants Of The Spiritual Realm

Most of modern science pays little heed to anything that exists in the spiritual realm. In the first place, the scientific method limits scientific investigation to the physical world. The prevailing secular scientific world view today is that of naturalism, or scientism. Naturalism holds that only the physical world is relevant. God if He exists at all, He plays no role in the day by day running of the universe. At most, God could be a "First Cause," but if so, we do not need God to explain anything to us after the Big Bang begins. Or, many say that the material world is all there is, so-called spiritual truth either does not exist or has no relevance to the world of science. These views are radically different in comparison to a Biblical world-view. The physical world is only half of the creation, and the invisible half of creation is the more permanent and substantial than the physical world. In many ways the material world is a world of shadows. Not only did God design the universe, He constructed it in minute detail over a period of time and then set it all in motion. Furthermore, without His moment by moment sustaining power the very atoms themselves would fly apart and the universe would go up in smoke. This is clear from statements such as Hebrews 1:1-4.

Ultimately, all energy and power and life come into the physical world from the unseen spiritual world as the source, even though we do not know how to formulate scientific laws to describe the interactions between these two realms. Since science is bounded by many intrinsic limitations, the responsibility for our failure to be fully-informed and educated concerning the dual realms of creation should probably be laid at the door of the church. God's people are given the task of explaining to the world those areas of knowledge that depend upon divine revelation, subjects that are, by nature, out-of-bounds for science.

"The amazing fact which the Scripture clearly declares, but which thousands of Christians have failed to see, is that God has designed that his church should be a kind of government on earth undergirding visible governments. This would make possible a climate of benevolent law and order, the rule of justice and peace, and would hold in restraint the wild forces of tyranny, anarchy and murder. (See Matt. 5:13,14; Phil. 2:14,15; 1 Tim. 2:1,2.) Whenever the church has approached the biblical pattern, righteous conditions have begun to prevail. And when it has turned from this divine pattern to rely on secondary forces it has become proud, rich and tyrannical, or worldly, weak and despised by all." (Ray C. Stedman, Body Life).

According to the Bible, there are two levels of creation: one physical and one (the more important) spiritual. The two realms---the material and the spiritual---were "tightly coupled" before the fall and though there is still coupling between these realms it is less than it was in former times. Both spiritual and material domains of reality have become flawed, subsequent to creation, and active evil is present in both realms. Scientific observations of the physical world have been, are now, and will be, affected by happenings in the spiritual world. Although we may not see the causes, the effects will be there. The fall of man is accompanied by a "curse" on nature described in Genesis 3:

And to Adam he [God} said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, `You shall not eat of it,' cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth to you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

The effect of the curse is to reduce the fecundity, resilience and vitality of nature allowing "opportunistic" thorns and thistles and weeds to compete more successfully with crops and fruits useful to men and animals.

Additional "curses" which are consequences of human evil are described as the Biblical account unfolds. For example God spoke to Cain, "What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood is crying to me from the ground. And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength; you shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth." (Genesis 4:11-12)

Adam's sin cost him his position as Manager and Steward over the earth. God had granted this to Adam at the time of his creation,

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth. (Genesis 1:26-28)

Man's lost dominion is described in the opening chapters of Hebrews. There Jesus Christ is presented as the Federal head of a new race of men who will place man back again in the position of dominion over creation:

"For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. It has been testified somewhere, 'What is man that thou art mindful of him, or the son of man, that thou carest for him? Thou didst make him [man] for a little while lower than the angels, thou hast crowned him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under his [man's] feet.' Now in putting everything in subjection to him, [man] he left nothing outside his control. As it is, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him [man]. But we see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for every one. For it was fitting that he, [Jesus] for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through suffering." (Hebrews 2:5-10).

Verse five contains a hidden and important clue about how governs the universe. The age which is to come is not ruled by the angels, the author says. The implication is that the age we live in, is ruled by the angels (acting on God's behalf). On this important passage Ray C. Stedman says the following,

"Some fascinating themes are introduced by this observation. It raises immediately the question, What is meant by the world to come? It can mean (1) life after death, (2) the future kingdom of Christ on earth (the millennium) or (3) the new heavens and the new earth. Since almost nothing is said in Hebrews about life after death (9:27), (1) can be dismissed without further development for it is obviously not what he refers to in the phrase about which we are speaking. That limiting phrase probably looks back to 1:11-12 which emphasizes the changes which the material creation will experience. Paul, in Ephesians 2:7, speaks of "coming ages," indicating that at least two more ages lie ahead. The two which Scripture continually names are the restored Davidic kingdom (the millennium) and the new heavens and the new earth. In several places Scripture describes the new heavens and earth as lasting forever, intimating It would be the last age yet to come. But the word world (Gk okoumene) in 2:5 refers not to the cosmos, but to the inhabited earth, and this would strongly suggest the writer has in mind (2), the kingdom of Christ on earth. Hughes calls the world to come, "the age of the Messiah in which the messianic promises and prophecies of old find their fulfillment." It is surely to this that Jesus refers in Matthew 19:28, 'Truly, I say to you, in the new world [palingenesia, 'restoration'], when the Son of man shall sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel' (RSV). Several passages in Hebrews (6:5 and 12:22-24) suggest that this kingdom is in some sense already available to those who live by faith. Perhaps, we should see this new age to come as spiritually arrived, yet physically still to come.

"A reference to the new heavens and new earth seems unlikely in view of the mention of judgment in Matthew 19:28, for sin will have no place in the new creation. Also Israel will not play a distinctive role among the nations, for then 'the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever' (Rev 11:15 KJV).

"If as this writer claims, the world to come has not been subjected to angels, it raises the possibility that the present age is subject to angelic governance, F.F. Bruce supports this view citing the LXX rendering of Deuteronomy 32:8:

When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance
When he separated the children of men,
He set the bounds of the peoples
According to the number of the angels of God.

"He further quotes Daniel 10:20, which names angelic beings as 'the prince of Persia' and 'the prince of Greece,' and Daniel 10:21 and 12:1 speak of Michael as 'the great prince' who champions the people of Israel. This concept would explain why the fallen angel called Satan is referred to as 'the god of this world' and is permitted his control until the Lord returns and the new age begins and the curse is lifted from nature. Then, too, the devil will be bound and cast into a bottomless pit for a thousand years (Rev 20:2-3).

"This background seems to give special meaning to the quotation from Psalm 8 which the writer of Hebrews now invokes. His vague reference to his source (Gk "Someone somewhere has testified") is not due to uncertainty but to a desire to stress Scripture as speaking, not a mere human author (Bruce, Kistemaker and Hughes). David's psalm is a wondering reaction to the majesty of the night sky as it reveals the power and wisdom of God and forces the question, What part do puny human beings play in such a universe? The answer is that we were made a little lower than the angels, but then crowned with glory and honor, and everything has been put under our feet. This is a direct reference to Genesis 1:26:

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."

"Here is glory and honor (made in the image and likeness of God) and authority and power (ruling over all the earth). Some commentators take the made a little lower than the angels in a temporal sense, 'made for a little while,' to imply that human existence in this space-time continuum is only for a brief lifetime, and then we are freed to live the life of eternity. Whichever way the phrase is read, it is clear that our intended destiny was one of power and authority over all the conditions and life of earth. If this was our commission from the moment of creation, what light it sheds on our responsibility to care for this planet and its creatures! We were not given dominion so the earth and the animals should serve us; rather, we are given authority to develop them to the fullest extent intended by the fruitful mind of the Creator. We are to serve them by thorough knowledge and loving care, in the form of servant-leadership which the Lord himself manifested when he came.

"Yet, says this writer in what must be the understatement of the ages, we do not see everything subject to him. No, there are many things fallen humans cannot control: the weather, the seasons, the instincts of animals, the tides, our own passions, international events, natural disasters, and on and on. The increasing pollution of the planet, the spread of famines and wars, the toll taken by drugs, accidents and disease, all tell the story of a lost destiny..." (Hebrews by Ray C. Stedman, The IVCP New Testament Commentary Series, IVCP Press, Downers Grove IL, 1992)

Cherubim And Seraphim

In the hierarchy of the angels as revealed to us in Scripture, the greatest and mightiest are known as the "cherubim," among whom are the "Four Living Creatures." The King James Version of the Bible calls them "the four beasts," but this is a poor translation of the Greek, zoon,which means "living beings." They are remarkable creatures, first described for us in detail by the prophet Ezekiel at the time of the Babylonian captivity of the Jews in July 593 BC

Isaiah may have seen these same great angels earlier in his vision recorded in Isaiah 6. The Hebrew word found in the latter passage is Seraphim, ("burning ones"), rather than Cherubim, thus many Bible scholars treat the Seraphim as a separate, but very high class of angels. Our common notion of "cherubs," as childlike harmless angels with tiny fluttering wings is very unbiblical.

Cherubim with whirling, flaming swords guarded the gate of access back into Eden after Adam and Eve were expelled, to keep them from eating of the Tree of Life in their fallen condition. In other words, they could not return to fellowship with God except by the way of the cross. Two figures of cherubim with outstretched arms covered the mercy seat which sat on the top of the Ark of the Covenant in the Tabernacle of Moses and later in the Temple of Solomon.

Visions, Dreams, And Revelations

Ezekiel had the clearest visions of God seen by all the prophets. As a young man in his twenties, he was carried into captivity to Babylon (along with Daniel) but was allowed to see the glory and splendor of the Holy One of Israel. He was given to know details about the long term future of the nation, and to foresee the last and greatest temple the Jews would one would one day build under Messiah's personal direction. Visions differ from dreams and hallucinations in the Biblical record. God sometimes spoke audibly to individuals in the Bible; at other times, He influenced men such as Joseph and Daniel by giving clear and specific guidance through dreams.

Today, now that Scripture is complete, God's last word to man is Jesus, as the opening verses of the letter to the Hebrews states. Colossians admonishes us,

"Let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a sabbath. These are only a shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. Let no one disqualify you, insisting on self-abasement and worship of angels, taking his stand on visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God. If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the universe, why do you live as if you still belonged to the world?" (2:16-20)

The cultures of society, human traditions, habit patterns, and lifestyles are actually controlled to a large degree by angelic forces operating behind the scenes of the world-system. We need not, and should not, rely on visions or experiences as reliable sources of information about the unseen world. When one becomes a Christian he or she is taken out from under the Satanic government of the world-system and placed under the direct rulership of Jesus Christ.

He has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:13-14)

Not all visions come from God. The enemy is the great counterfeiter and even has the power to accomplish signs and wonders and miracles. Hallucinations, such as those experienced by individuals on drugs, or under severe emotional stress, or deprived of sleep, are usually heightened imaginations. Many false religions and cults base their teachings on the visionary experiences of their founders. Islam was born because the "prophet" Mohammed received a vision from an angel. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints (the Mormon church) was initiated by a supposedly divine revelation given to Joseph Smith. Demons and evil spirits and Satan himself coming "as an angel of light" are capable of counterfeiting experiences so that they appear to be coming from God when they are not. Such visions have most assuredly not come from the God who gave us the Bible.

"For such men [i.e., false teachers] are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is not strange if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness." (2 Corinthians 11:12-15)

Genuine visions, such as those seen by Ezekiel, Daniel, the Apostle John and other Biblical writers were experiences when the seer was allowed to briefly look behind the veil into the invisible world, (into the heavenly places). They saw into that more permanent and more permanent world of the Spirit. Today, only if an experience can be confirmed by direct words from scripture can the Christian be sure what is happening is coming from God. The Christian faith is not existential, not based on experiences or emotion, but it is grounded in a thorough and complete body of knowledge given to us in the Bible. Biblical events are historically true as well, not at all based upon myth, folklore or tradition which form the backdrop of common world religions. Peter says,

"For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty." (1 Peter 1:16)

Ezekiel's Vision

In regard to the Four Living Creatures, Ezekiel saw them in a great vision as standing around the chariot-throne of God. They must be frightening and awesome creatures of great intelligence, with four faces, four great wings, and they are constantly engaged in ceaseless energetic activity.

"As I looked, behold, a storm wind came out of the north, and a great cloud, with brightness around about it, and fire flashing forth continually, and in the midst of the fire, as it were gleaming bronze. And from the midst of it came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: they had the form of men, but each had four faces, and each had four wings. Their legs were straight, and the soles of their feet were like the sole of a calves foot; and they sparkled like burnished bronze. Under their wings on their four sides they had human hands. And the four had their faces and their wings thus: their wings touched one another; they went everyone straight forward without turning as they went. As for the likeness of their faces, each had the face of a man in front; the four had the face of a lion on the right side; the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and the four had the face of an eagle at the back. Such were there faces. And their wings were spread out above; each creature had two wings, each of which touched the wings of another, while two covered their bodies. And each went straight forward, wherever the spirit would go they went, without turning as they went.

Ezekiel's "wheels" are not UFO's but mysterious wheels within wheels "full of eyes round about." They seem to symbolize the great multi-dimensional mobility of God's portable chariot throne.

"In the midst of the living creatures there was something that looked like burning coals of fire, like torches moving to and fro among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning. And the living creatures darted to and fro like a flash of lightning. Now as I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel upon the earth beside the living creatures, one for each of the four of them. As for the appearance of the wheels and their construction: their appearance was like the gleaming of a chrysolite; and the four had the same likeness, their construction being as it were a wheel within a wheel. When these went they went in any of their four directions without turning as they went. The four wheels had rims and they had spokes; and their rims were full of eyes round about. And when the living creatures went, the wheels went beside them; and when the living creatures rose from the earth, the wheels rose. Wherever the spirit would go, they went, and the wheels rose along with them; for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. When those went, these went, and when those stood, these stood; and when those rose from the earth, the wheels rose along with them, for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.

A great platform, the "sea of glass" stretches out above the throne of God, over the heads of the four living creatures. In recent years transparent metallic glass gold has been produced in the laboratory. The image of the crystal sea reappears in the Book of the Revelation (4:6, 15:2).

"Over the heads of the living creatures there was the likeness of a firmament shining like crystal, spread out over the heads. And under the firmament their wings were stretched out straight, one toward another; and each creature had two wings covering its body. And when they went, I heard the sound of their wings like the sound of many waters, like the thunder of the Almighty, a sound of tumult like the sound of a host; when they stood still they let down their wings. And their came a voice from the firmament over their heads; when they stood still, they let down their wings. And above the firmament over their heads there was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like sapphire, and seated about the likeness of a throne was as it were the likeness of a human form. And upward from what had the appearance of his loins I saw as it were gleaming bronze, like the appearance of fire round about; and downward from what had the appearance of his loins I saw as I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness around about him. Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord." (Ezekiel 1:4-28, see also Chapter 10) (Modified KJV).

Seated on the throne is a human form. This man seems to be same Person as the "ancient of Days" named in Daniel. (See also Revelation 4:1-9, 5:1-7, 6:16, 19:4). Daniel records,

"As I looked, thrones were placed and one that was ancient of days took his seat; his raiment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames, its wheels were burning fire. A stream of fire issued and came forth from before him; a thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; the court sat in judgment, and the books were opened...I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed." (Daniel 7:9-14)

Four Mighty Angels Around The Throne

The Four Living Creatures, the Cherubim, correspond one-to-one with the four Gospels with which the New Testament opens. Lion, ox, man, and eagle all symbolize various attributes of God in four-fold symmetry. Since the number "four" is symbolic of the world in scripture, we have in the four cherubim around the throne, a picture of God's government and concern for all aspects of the physical world, and the world-system which we call "human society." The lion corresponds to the Gospel of Matthew---here Jesus is seen as the Lion out of the tribe of Judah, the rightful king, depicting God's kingly sovereignty over Israel and the nations. The ox pictures for us servitude and sacrifice (Mark); The Cherubim's face, like that of a man, corresponds to Luke's Gospel and pictures divine intelligence; and the eagle symbolizes the lofty sovereignty and deity of the Son of God (John's Gospel). The four Gospels are also God's complete message to the descendants of Shem, Ham, Japheth, and to mankind in general, in the same order. The "wheels" of Ezekiel (God's "chariot throne") appear to symbolize divine mobility, (the ability of God to observe, to move and to act, anywhere and at anytime, unrestricted by the limitations of the material world). The entire vision seems to picture for us God's government of human affairs and of nature.

Similarly, the cherubim, the highest class of the angels, are also described for us in detail by John the Apostle on the Isle of Patmos about 95 AD:

"At once I (John) was in the Spirit, and lo, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne! And he who sat there appeared like jasper and carnelian, and round the throne was a rainbow that looked like an emerald. Round the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clad in white garments, with golden crowns upon their heads. From the throne issue flashes of lightning, and voices and peals of thunder, and before the throne burn seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God; and before the throne there is as it were a sea of glass, like crystal.

"And round the throne on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes (depicting the omniscience of God) in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like a flying eagle. And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to sing, 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!' And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever; they cast their crowns before the throne, singing, 'Worthy are thou, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for thou didst create all things, and by thy will they existed and were created.'" (Revelation 4:2-11)

Angels And The Government Of The Universe

The Cherubim also seem to represent "God's Intelligence Agency" (Ray Stedman)---with their all-seeing eyes and ability to move quickly in all four directions. The number "four" indicates they have a central role in God's government of human society. The Four Living Creatures seem to represent the topmost level of the system of angels who fall into definite hierarchy and class structures hinted at in scripture.

The Apostle Paul says there are angelic principalities (arche), powers (exousia), thrones (thronoi), dominions (kuriotes), and powers (dunamis). Thus, there appear to be angels with power over a nation or a city or a planet or a star such as our sun. In addition to all manner of greater and lesser angels, the Mighty Archangel Michael, guardian of Israel, and the great messenger Gabriel are also named. (Only Michael, of all the angels, is actually called an archangel in scripture. Lucifer is however named as one of the cherubim. He was probably the highest of all the angels. Bible scholar James Montgomery Boice calls him "the prime minister of the universe" (see Genesis: An Expositional Commentary, 1982 Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI).

God created great numbers of spirits, some now fallen, and known now as demons. Demonic forces operate in all forms of idolatry and false religion, for instance. Demons, deceiving spirits, familiar spirits, and unclean spirits do not have bodies of their own; hence, they seek to possess humans (and can possess animals also). The popular New Age fad of "channeling" appears to be a good example of demons acting through men and women who make themselves available to evil spirits so as to receive hidden, esoteric wisdom alleged to come from the past or from "other worlds."

Guardian angels watching over the lives of God's people are mentioned in the opening verses of the letter to the Hebrews, in the Psalms and in the Gospels. In the Book of the Revelation we are told of four angels who have charge over the "four winds that blow from the four corners of the earth." We also read of four fallen, now-bound, angels who are to be unloosed at the Euphrates River. The Greek word angelos and the Hebrew word malakh mean "messenger," but it is clear in the Bible that angels do much more than run errands and deliver telegrams for God.

Great and mighty angels will take charge in the unfolding of God's terrible judgments on the earth that are to come upon us at the end of the present age as described in the last book of the Bible. As mentioned earlier, angels seem to have control over the forces of nature and human events in their roles as instruments of God. This does not cause man to be a mere puppet, tossed, and buffeted about by the unseen activity of these mighty beings. However, the Bible emphasizes that we cannot understand what is happening in the world or in history without understanding the activity of God and of the angels.

Most of the angels are not named for us in the Bible. Commenting on Revelation Chapter 8 Ray Stedman says,

When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets. (Rev 8:1-2 NIV)

"...This word about silence reminds us of the prophet Habakkuk's cry, "The Lord is in his Holy Temple; let all the earth keep silence before him!" {Hab 2:20 KJV}. This silence comes as a dramatic contrast to the shouting of praise and the playing of harps that has been going on in heaven up to this point. Millions of angels, hosts of redeemed humans, and other heavenly creatures have been crying out before the throne of God, and singing praises to him. But now suddenly everything ceases. When the seventh seal is opened there is total silence. It is a most dramatic pause. It reminds one of that moment of silence just before the last great "Hallelujah!" in the Hallelujah Chorus of Handel's Messiah. This is the silence of mystery, a silence of intense anticipation of what is about to happen. Our good friend, Earl Palmer, in his commentary on Revelation says, "It communicates in a dramatic way the full and awesome authority of God. Everything must wait for his kingly move."

"That move begins, as this account tells us, with seven angels being given seven trumpets to sound. It is all part of the opening of the seventh seal. These are impressive angels indeed. We are told they are the angels "who stand before God." That calls to mind the story in Luke 1:19 of an angel sent to Joseph to tell him that Mary will be the mother of a child. The angel identifies himself as "Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God," (cf, Luke 1:19 NIV). These seven angels are probably archangels, and they are given an extremely important task in the sounding of these trumpets. They doubtless include Michael the archangel, who appears also in the book of Daniel. In fact, the apocryphal book of Enoch, an ancient book which is not part of our Bible, gives the names of all seven angels. They are Uriel, Raphael, Raguel, Michael, Sarakiel, Gabriel, and Phanuel. Notice, their names all end in "el," which is short for the name of God. These are "angels of God," powerful angels, who are given these trumpets to sound. (Angels of Doom)

Ray Stedman also notes( in a sermon on the gospels) that when Jesus calmed the sea of Galilee during a ferocious storm, he evidently spoke to a local angel who had charge of the weather. The angel's response was immediate,

"And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he [Jesus] was asleep. And they [the disciples] went and woke him, saying, 'Save, Lord; we are perishing.' And he said to them, 'Why are you afraid, O men of little faith?' Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, 'What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?'" (Matthew 8:24-27)

THE Angel of the LORD

One special angel is "The Angel of the Lord" who makes a number of appearances in the Old Testament. These are believed by careful Bible scholars to be a theophanies, or appearances of the Son of God, prior to His incarnation and birth in Bethlehem. [THE Angel of the Lord)]

The Armies of the Lord

The angelic host is under the direction of The Lord of Hosts (Yahweh Sabaoth), or the Lord of Armies. In the New Testament, Jesus heads up these military resources of the Godhead which include the angels, and eventually also the saints of God. The active warfare in heaven between good and evil in the spiritual realm involves conflicts between fallen and unfallen angels as well as campaigns having to do with angelic interactions with human affairs. An interesting incident in 2 Kings 6 in the life of Elisha the prophet gives a behind-the-scenes glimpse at God's angelic armies. Alarmed at the ability of Elisha to warn the armies of Israel against impending attacks from the king of Syria, the latter attempted to capture Elisha when he was at Dothan. The sequence of events which follows clearly shows clearly the course of events is in reality controlled not by visible circumstances or "luck," or by Elisha's cleverness, but by the Lord working through angels:

"So he (the king of Syria) sent horses and chariots and a great army; and they came by night, and surrounded the city. When the servant of (Elisha) the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was round about the city. And the servant said, 'Alas my master! What shall we do?' Elisha said, 'Fear not, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them. Then Elisha prayed, and said, 'O LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes that he may see.' So the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw; and behold the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha. And when the Syrians came down against him, Elisha prayed to the LORD, and said, 'Strike this people, I pray thee with blindness.' So God struck them with blindness in accordance with the prayer of Elisha.

"And Elisha said to the Syrians, 'This is not the way, and this is not the city; follow me, and I will bring you to whom you seek.' And he led them to Samaria. As soon as they entered Samaria, Elisha said, 'O LORD, open the eyes of these men, that they may see.' So the LORD opened their eyes, and they saw' and lo, they were in the midst of Samaria. "When the king of Israel saw them he said to Elisha, 'My father, shall I slay them? Shall I slay them?' Elisha answered, 'You shall not slay them. Would you slay those whom you have taken captive with your sword and with your bow? Set bread and water before them; that they may eat and drink and go to their master.' So he prepared for them a great feast; and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away and they went to their master. And the Syrians came no more on raids into the land of Israel." (2 Kings 6:14-23) (Modified KJV)

Angels at War with one another

Another interesting illustration showing how angelic activity interrelates with human affairs is given for us in the book of Daniel. Prayers by Daniel had reached the ears of God immediately (faster than the speed of light), but God's answer to these prayers, sent by angelic messenger, was delayed due to a mighty conflict between the messenger angel and evil angels who had charge of the affairs of nations around Israel:

"In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks. I ate no delicacies, no meat nor wine entered my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were ended. And in the twenty fourth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, that is the Tigris, I lifted up my eyes, and looked, and behold a man [an angel in human form] clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz: His body was like beryl, and his face like the appearance of lightning, and his eyes like flaming fire, his arms and his feet were like in color like burnished bronze, and the voice of his words like the noise of a multitude. And I, Daniel, alone saw the vision: for the men that were with me saw not the vision; but a great trembling fell upon them, and they fled to hide themselves. Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my radiant appearance was fearfully changed, and I retained no strength. Yet heard I the voice of his words: and when I heard the voice of his words, then I fell on my face, in a deep sleep with my face toward the ground.

"And, behold, a hand touched me, and set me upon my hand and knees. And he [the angel] said to me, 'O Daniel, man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand up: for to you I have been sent.' And when he had spoken this word to me, I stood trembling. Then said he to me, 'Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard [by God], and I have come because of your words. But the prince [chief angel] of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty one days: but, [archangel] Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia. Now I have come to make you understand what shall befall your people [Israel] in the latter days: for the vision applies to man days from now' And when he had spoken these words to me, I [Daniel] set my face toward the ground, and I became dumb.

"And, behold, one in the likeness of the sons of men [the angel] touched my lips: then I opened my mouth, and spoke, and said to him who stood before me, 'O my lord, by reason of the vision pains have come upon me, and I have retained no strength. How can the servant of my lord talk with my lord? For as for me, there remains no strength in me, nor is there breath left in me.' "Then one who had the appearance of a man came again and touched me, and strengthened me, and said, 'O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be to you, be strong, yes, be strong.' And when he had spoken to me, I was strengthened and said, 'Let my lord speak; for you have strengthened me. Then said he, 'Do you know where I have come from to you? And now will I return to fight with the [angelic] prince of Persia: and when I have gone forth, lo, the [angelic] prince of Greece will come. But I will show you that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is no one who stands with me in these things, but [the archangel] Michael your prince." (Daniel 10:2-21. Modified KJV)

Daniel was in Babylon at the time of the experience described above. The great angel who visited him in person was probably Gabriel. He was dispatched by God to assist Daniel but delayed en route because of "fighting with the prince (angel) of Persia." The angel mentioned that after the warfare with the angel over Persia was ended then would come "the prince (high angel) of Greece." Here, we get a hint that angelic activity then taking place in the heavenlies---involving God's angels warring against the angel over Persia---was relevant to current events in Babylon. That is, the kingdom of Babylon had fallen already, Persia would soon fall as a great world power and then Greece would rise. The rise and fall of nations and kingdoms is thus linked to warfare among the angels at the highest levels. All of this warfare is of course under the sovereign direction of the Commander in Chief, Yahweh Sabaoth, the LORD of hosts. We now from subsequent human history after Daniel's time that the angel over Greece, in the time of Alexander the Great who came to power thereafter, would be in ascendancy.

Angels work behind the Scenes of History

In Daniel, Chapter 12, the prophet records that the angel responsible for Israel, Michael, would "arise" [ascend in power] at the close of the latter days on behalf of God's people Israel. Associated with the rise of Michael would come the throwing down to earth of Satan and the "time of Jacob's trouble" spoken of by the prophet Jeremiah, "a time of trouble such as never has been since there was a nation till that time..." (Daniel 12:1-3). Thus, angelic activity in heaven runs parallel with events on earth though it is difficult to establish a one-to-one correspondence between events transpiring in heaven and the timing of events on earth. Satan has not yet been cast out of heaven, but Jesus foresaw this future event clearly,

The seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!" And Jesus said to them, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you; but rejoice that your names are written in heaven." (Luke 10:17-20)

The actual future day when Satan is excluded from heaven and confined to earth is described in the book of the Revelation, Chapter 12,

Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they were defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world --he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. Rejoice then, O heaven and you that dwell therein! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!" (7-12)

In Zechariah, Chapter 1, are recorded the dreams of the prophet in which he saw horses riding to the corners of the earth. These horses symbolize divine activity in human affairs as do the better-known "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" (Revelation, Chapter 6). In the Book of the Revelation the attention of the reader is turned to events in heaven; then the scene switches back to events transpiring on earth in human history. As the Book of the Revelation unfolds, the two realms merge so that there is a closer connection ("closer coupling") between the two worlds. This is the meaning of the word apocalypse---"unveiling."

Angels keep records and execute judgments for God (Ezekiel 8-9). In fact there are apparently angels whose sole work is to record human deeds in great detail. Ezekiel saw them as scribes with parchment, pens and ink, but in our era it is easier for us to imagine these angels as using some kind of advanced laptop computers. Angels, acting for God, reduced the mighty world-conqueror Nebuchadnezzar to seven years of psychotic wanderings to humble him so that he would come to see who was really running the universe (see Daniel 4).

Angels announce important events in scripture, such as the birth of Jesus, for example. Ordinarily when angels appear among men, they take on human form and may even be mistaken for ordinary men. Hence, the writer of the letter to the Hebrews tells us, "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares." (Hebrews 13:2) The writer perhaps had in mind the visit of THE Angel of the LORD and two other angels to Abraham's tent on their way to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18). After a meal and a conversation (which included Abraham's petitions for the doomed cities), the two other angels departed. Upon arriving in Sodom, they were treated by the men of that city as if they were only handsome, desirable young men with whom the citizens of Sodom wished to entice into their immoral sexual activities. These angels rescued Lot, but Lot apparently remained in some doubt about the true identity of these visitors---were they ordinary men or somehow extraordinary? Some stories of angels appearing occasionally among us in our time seem to be well-founded. Angels evidently are able to take on human form from time to time.

In the Book of the Revelation, angels are frequently seen in dazzling appearances. The aged Apostle John, who had spent his youth traveling with Jesus as one of the apostles, and after that, six decades of godly ministry in daily fellowship with the living Lord, was nevertheless so overwhelmed by the splendor of the angels he saw in his visions that he was twice tempted to worship them---thinking they were actually the Lord in His risen splendor! Demons and evil spirits, on the other hand, seem incapable in taking on physical appearance but gain access to the physical world by possessing men. Demon possession is not uncommon in the world today and more and more is encountered in the United States due to our rapidly declining moral conditions and open Satan worship.

Man is involved in the Angelic Conflict

The New Testament also emphasizes that the Christian cannot understand what is happening to him and to the world he lives in unless he takes the angelic conflict seriously. The subject deserves very careful study by every Christian. The Apostle Paul writes,

"For though we live in the world [system] we [believers] are not carrying on a worldly war, for the weapons of our warfare are not worldly [carnal] but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete." (2 Corinthians 10:3-6)

Paul also writes clearly on this subject in the closing portion of his letter to the church at Ephesus:

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand against the wiles of the devil. For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace; besides all these, taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints." (Ephesians 6:10-19)

The Chief of the Fallen Angels

The Bible does not explain or justify the existence of God or of the devil; the existence of evil is already clear by Genesis, Chapter 3. As the Bible unfolds, we glean more and more information about the Tempter. He first appears in Genesis as a serpent---probably a dazzlingly beautiful creature who later became identified with the snakes we all tend to dread and fear. Satan may have appeared to Eve as a "shining one"---that is, an angel of light, a subtle counterfeit of the Presence of God who came to the garden regularly to fellowship with man.

Bible scholars agree that on although on the surface Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 passages seem to be written about evil earthly kings, they are also figurative pictures telling us much more. Behind certain key individuals who have appeared on the world stage is a supernatural personality, an Evil Entity who controls and possesses men to varying degrees. When this "prince of the power of the air" takes full control of a Caesar, or a Hitler, or a Stalin we have what the Apostle John calls, "an antichrist." Ultimately in history Satan will become fully incarnate in a "man of sin"---THE [one, unique, and final] Antichrist. Satan's attributes can be seen in powerful and evil human rulers of the past: the King of Babylon, the King of Tyre, the Caesars, Hitler, etc. Isaiah and Ezekiel seem to be telling us about one of the Mighty Cherubim, perhaps the greatest of the archangels, who fell because of pride:

"How are you fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How are you cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart,
'I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God:
I will sit upon the mount of the assembly, in the far north:
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
I will be like the most High'.

"Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the depths of the Pit. Those who see you shall stare at you, and ponder over you, 'Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms; who made the world like a desert, and overthrew its cities; who did not let his prisoners go home? All the kings of the nations lie in glory, every one in his own tomb. But you are cast out of your sepulcher, like a loathed, untimely birth, clothed with the slain, those thrust through with a sword, who go down to the stones of the Pit; like a dead body trodden under feet you will not be joined with them in burial, because you have destroyed your land, and slain your people. 'May the descendants of evildoers nevermore be named! Prepare slaughter for his sons because of the guilt of their fathers, lest they rise and possess the earth, and fill the face of the world with cities.'" (Isaiah 14:12-22) (Paraphrased KJV)

From Ezekiel we have additional light on one of the greatest of the angels and his first estate in the garden of God,

"Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 'Son of man, take up a lamentation over the king of Tyre, and say to him, 'Thus says the Lord God; you were the signet of perfection, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, carnelian, topaz, and the diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, emerald, and lapus lazuli, and gold; and wrought in gold were your settings and your engravings. On the day that you were created they were prepared. "You were the anointed guardian cherub who covers (guards), and I placed you there. You were upon the holy mountain of God; you walked in the midst of the stones of fire.

"You were blameless in your ways from the day that you were created, until iniquity was found in you. In the abundance of your trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned: so I cast you as profane from the mountain of God. And I have destroyed you, O covering (guarding) cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty, you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor: I cast you to the ground, I exposed you before kings, that they might feast their eyes on you. You have defiled your sanctuaries by the multitude of your iniquities, in the unrighteousness of your trade. Therefore I have brought forth fire from the midst of you, it consumed you, and I have turned you to ashes on the earth in the sight of all those who see you. All who know you among the peoples are appalled at you: you have come to a dreadful end, and shall be no more forever." (Ezekiel 28:1-19) (Paraphrased KJV)

Lucifer, the "Light-Bearer"

"Lucifer" is sometimes known as the "light bearer"---very possibly the very high angel who had stewardship over light, energy and power in the old creation. As the "anointed guardian Cherub" in the garden of God (a place in the heavenlies corresponding with the garden in Eden on earth), he may well have had enormous power and influence over the entire angelic host. In the New Testament, Paul warns that he sometimes comes among men disguised as an angel of light (through false teachers and also as a giver of deceptive visions). In fact, he has now become the Prince of Darkness. Lucifer may have been originally God's appointed watch guard over the forces of nature; for example, he could have been in charge of such physical phenomena as the propagation of light. I believe it is quite possible that the observed decrease in velocity of light over time might have begun when Satan fell. {See separate files on the velocity of light]

It is certainly appropriate for Christians to reexamine the entire visible, created universe and look for evidences of the destructive work of Satan since his fall, as there is no doubt from scripture that the Evil One has wrought havoc not only in man and society, but also in nature. In league with Satan are a third of the angels he has succeeded in turning away from serving God.

We usually think of Satan as responsible for the fall of man, our present fallen, mortal state as children of Adam. We think of the devil as the tempter and the enemy of our souls. But in addition to these roles he seems to have had some important place as "prime minister" in God's government of the physical universe. The universe we now live in has been damaged by the fall of man and the angels---it is now a dying old creation, subject to the degenerative principle known in physics as the "Second Law of Thermodynamics." Biblically speaking this is referred to in Romans,

"I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies." (8:18-23)

This passage links the redemption of the believer's physical body with the unveiling of a whole new creation which God has already prepared for those who love him.

That Ancient Serpent

Satan is given a number of titles and descriptors in the Bible. He is "the prince of this world (cosmos, the world system), "the prince of the power of the air," "the god of this age (aion), "the prince of demons." "the devil," "that ancient serpent," "the great red dragon," "the evil one," "the destroyer," "the tempter," "the accuser of the brethren," "the spirit that now works in the sons of disobedience," "a liar and a murderer from the beginning," "the deceiver."

Satan's actual power over the world can be seen in the offers he made to Jesus during the latter's 40 days' temptation in the wilderness, recorded in Matthew, Chapter 4. Satan is the ruler over fallen angels, (believed to number one-third of the angelic host according to Revelation 12:4). He is the opposer of God's Person; the counterfeiter of truth, "the deceiver of nations".

Everything Satan does he must do by direct permission of God, as the book of Job clearly shows, so it is not as if there were two warring gods, one good and the other evil, (a philosophy known as "dualism"). The devil is a defeated enemy, his evil plan and power were undone by the work of Jesus on the cross though we wait in our time for his final defeat and removal from the heavens and the earth, by Michael the Archangel. If we look at circumstances around us it seems he is winning and gaining ground unchecked. If we open our Bibles, however, his defeat is spoken of repeatedly as an already accomplished fact. Christians have not need to fear the devil, although we are warned by Peter,

"Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil goes around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experience of suffering is required of your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, establish, and strengthen you." (1 Peter 5:8-10)

These notes on the angels are brief and sketchy---the reader is encouraged to become well acquainted with all of Scripture and to read classic Christian books on spiritual warfare and angelology to gain a better understanding of the role of good and fallen angels in creation. Difficult though it is for us to grasp, the laws of physics are apparently not operative apart from the angels who are part of the management system of God's government of creation. Just how angelic activity affects events in the physical world is not known to science, nor is much revealed in the Bible. Actual transfer of new energy from the spiritual dimension into the physical may not necessarily be involved most of the time when angels act---since such energy transfers would most likely appear to us to be violations of the laws of conservation of energy. Such violations do not occur as far as science can detect. Another way of stating this is to say that God works within the laws of nature which He has established and most of the time does not circumvent these laws. It goes without saying that the discussion of various types of miracles is a complex subject in theology.

Angels and Cosmic Warfare

In connection with a computer conference I took part in some years ago between a group of concerning the interesting geological history and some unusual surface features of the planet Mars, I spend an exciting few hours quizzing Ray Stedman on the role of the angels in the universe. Ray suggested as a matter for "the sanctified imagination" that we could consider the possibility perhaps Mars had once been attacked by fallen angels during an early-history war between the angels. The purpose of such an hypothesized angelic war involving Mars and other planets might have been to prevent the birth of the Savior of mankind whose coming was foretold in the Bible as early as Genesis, Chapter 3. The earth has been central to God's plan for the redemption of mankind. On no other planet did Christ become incarnate, and no where else did He die. It is not inconceivable, therefore, that the other planets were once angelic "watchposts" guarding the earth. Satanic attempts to destroy the earth through angelic warfare following his fall could have reduced all the planets (except earth), to ruined, desolate, barren worlds. This is an admittedly unusual speculation but would serve to illustrate yet another of the devil's attempts to prevent the redemption of man. From scripture we do know that good and fallen angels war against one another, evidently using powerful weapons rather than mere swords of steel. We would expect such mighty creatures, with such vast influence, to have weaponry in advance of that imagined by our government's proposed Space Defense Initiative, and even beyond the imaginative concepts raised for our sci-fi entertainment in programs such as "Star Trek" and "Star Wars."

Evil Angels Thwart The Work Of God And His Messiah

The curse on the serpent in Genesis is described as perpetual enmity between the godly line of Eve and the enemy of mankind, Satan:

"I will put enmity between you and the woman (God says to the serpent) and between your seed (the Antichrist) and her seed (the Messiah); he shall bruise your head and you shall bruise his heel." (Genesis 3:15)

After Cain murdered Abel, another son, Seth, was born to Eve. This begins the godly line of promise leading to Jesus. Matthew's Gospel, Chapter One, picks up this genealogical line from Abraham to Joseph showing that Jesus was the rightful legal heir to the throne of Israel on Joseph's side, but rightful blood heir on Mary's side also. Luke's Gospel, which records the line of Mary goes all the way back to Seth.

A systematic Old Testament study of the line of promise vividly shows that Satan has made numerous attempts to permanently interrupt this line so that the qualified Messiah, Jesus, would never be born and thus no legitimate heir would ever come to Israel and mankind. Reading the Old Testament accounts that center around the godly line of ancestors of Jesus shows that Satan made many attempts, some almost successful, to destroy or interrupt the coming of the promised seed of the woman. To cite two examples: Athaliah, daughter of Jezebel tried to wipe out the royal line, but young prince Joash escaped by the grace of God (2 Kings 11:1). Herod the Great (d. 4 BC), upon hearing of the birth of Jesus from the wise men of the east, murdered all the male infants in Bethlehem under 2 years of age (Luke, Chapter 2); however, having been warned by an angel had already fled into Egypt with Mary and Jesus, where they remained for several years in a the part of Old Cairo still known today.

Even during the life of Jesus, the devil attempted numerous times to thwart Jesus' primary purpose of becoming a cosmic sacrifice for the sins of all the mankind. It was necessary for our Lord to carefully plan and orchestrate his three-year public ministry so that He arrived in Jerusalem precisely on Palm Sunday riding on a donkey and presenting Himself as the legitimate heir to the throne of David. In doing so, many exact detailed prophecies concerning Him were fulfilled in minutest detail.

In addition to rescuing lost men, some theologians believe that Jesus also "ransomed" lost property and territory belonging to God from any claim the enemy may have had upon it, whether those claims were all legitimate or not. This concept can be inferred from the broad scope of a passage in Colossians,

"He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities---all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in everything he might be pre-eminent. For in him all the fulness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross." (Colossians 1:15-19)

The Temptation of Jesus by the devil recorded in Matthew, Chapter 4 is illustrative of the promises Satan made to Jesus if the latter would but renounce his dependence upon the Father and bow before the "god of this world." If the four Gospels are read with this theme in mind, the enemy's desperate stratagems can be seen on every page. Fortunately for us, all were the enemy's wily attempts to thwart the plan of God have been and will be unsuccessful!

We ought not to forget that as far as we are concerned here on earth that Satan's hatred and war against the Jews goes on more than ever in our time---in ever-renewed anti-Semitism around the world, and especially attacks of all kinds against the emerging State of Israel, which is to become God's showpiece nation on the stage of history.

War In Heaven---Satan cast down to Earth

Satan's last attempt to rule the universe and overthrow God and His kingdom occurs on earth, not in outer space. Scripture speaks of many antichrists who oppose Jesus and counterfeit His claims, but there is to be THE final Antichrist, the "man of sin" who will one day take charge of our world under one world government having full and economic controls. As part of His plan, God has determined to allow evil to run its full course on earth. Antichrist is to be an incarnation of Satan so that he, the Evil One, will fully possess and indwell one unique man in history more than he has ever done before in history. [Those unfamiliar with the relevant scriptures should read Matthew 24-25, 2 Thessalonians 2, and Revelation 13, as well as the Book of Daniel].

Revelation 12 includes a description of the throwing down of the devil to earth in a yet-future time (as introduced above) which will result in the greatest conflagration our planet has ever seen. This last war, which will involve all of mankind and very nearly destroy the entire human race, will begin in space (i.e., in the heavenlies). It will be a gigantic, unprecedented event in the annals of angelic warfare. The battle is fought by the archangel Michael and his thousands of unfallen angels:

"And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman (Israel) clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; she was with child and she cried out in her pangs of birth, in anguish for delivery.

"And another portent appeared in heaven; behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems upon his heads. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bear a child, that he might devour her child when she brought it forth; she brought forth a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child (Jesus and His Body the church) was caught up to God and to his throne, and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which to be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.

"Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they were defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world---he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

"And I (John) heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, 'Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ (Messiah) have come, for the accuser of the brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.

"Rejoice then, O heaven and you that dwell therein (the church)! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows his time is short!' And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had borne the male child. But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time (3.5 years). The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with the flood. But the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river which the dragon had poured from his mouth. Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring (the believers who come out of the tribulation period), on those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus." (Revelation 12:7-17)

A Vision of Israel's History and Destiny

The above scriptures give us with a vision which has significance in the light of ancient, uncorrupted Hebrew astrology. Like many visionary, apocalyptic images in the Bible this picture is outside of time. The woman is Israel and the child is Jesus. This passage of scripture suggests to us that one-third of the angels fell along with Satan and became instruments of evil. After sketching out in a few brief words the entire 2000-year history of ancient Israel---depicted as a woman crowned with 12 stars representing the 12 tribes---the vision moves swiftly from the birth of Jesus to His ascension into the heavenly places 40 days after His resurrection. (Ray Stedman notes that the rapture of the church is implied in this passage---because Jesus has joined himself to His body, the church, and where the Head of the church is, there the Body is also).

Revelation 12 continues to describe the plight of the woman in the end-times (yet to come) when the small faithful remnant of believing Israel is forced to flee to Petra in Jordan to survive the ravages of a Great World War which will center in Israel. There, in the wilderness east and south of Jerusalem, Jesus will return to this faithful remnant, then appear in power and glory to conclude the battle of Armageddon. Isaiah 63 describes this return of Jesus first to Edom and Revelation 19:11ff, His coming in open splendor before the entire world to save a remnant of mankind from total self-destruction and to restore our broken planet.

The Last War: Men against God

The Bible has much to say about this final war. It begins with an invasion of the Holy Land by Egypt (Daniel 11: 36-45) and is followed by a full invasion by Syria/Russia (Ezekiel 38, 39). Other Old Testament prophets such as Joel, Isaiah, Zechariah, and Zephaniah add to our understanding of these events. The Olivet Discourse by Jesus (Matthew 24, 25) concentrates on these final events as they will be experienced by the Jews living in Israel at the time of the end when the Third Jewish Temple has been built, dedicated, and is functioning. The invading Northern armies and their threat to Israel is met at first by the Western powers: sending landing forces into Israel, probably at the sea port of Haifa. The armies from the North are, however, destined to be destroyed, by direct intervention of God. Nuclear warfare seems to play a part in the conflagration because "fire rains down on the coastlands" according to Ezekiel. The coastlands are the continents, where mankind spread after the Tower of Babel confusion of languages (Genesis 10-11).

The Coming Invasion of Jesus and His Angels

The early campaigns of Armageddon will pit the armies of earth against one another. A great horde of troops from China, Japan and the Far East will evidently join in, according to the descriptions given us in the Book of Revelation. In the later stages (coinciding with the throwing down of Satan from space to earth by the archangel Michael), the war between men on earth will apparently become a united attempt to thwart the approaching space armies of Jesus. That is, human military and political leaders under Antichrist will unite to fight against Jesus returning to earth with His mighty armies of the heavenly hosts. Although the armies of the world meet on the Plains of Sharon (Esdraelon) in Israel to fight against one another, during the course of this terrible war their generals suddenly realize that this war is not really against one another but against the Lord of hosts and his armies:

"And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who sits upon the horse and against his army." (Rev. 19:19)

Viewed from earth, the returning of Jesus to earth in a cloud of glory will no doubt be seen by the last generation of evil men as an invasion of "enemy aliens" from outer space. Earth's final leaders will be men who have been fully and successfully deceived by Satan. God is fallen man's ultimate enemy, and sad to say, most men hate God more than anyone else in the final analysis.

Another illustration of the different timing of events as seen in heaven compared to earth is seen in Luke 10:18; Jesus said, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven." This is a prophetic passage from our earthly point of view, but Jesus saw it as happening "now" in His frame of reference. As the "Great I AM", Jesus made a number of statements in the Gospel of John linking His oneness with Yahweh and His (Jesus') unique relationship with the Father. In several instances, His perception that He was fully aware of eternity (as none of us are) while He was on earth are evident from the things He said.

Planets Devastated by Angelic Wars?

To speculate a bit further, perhaps there is some reason to suppose that Mars was the site of an ancient angelic "war" which was part of a great Satanic plan to destroy the line of Eve that would lead to Messiah and to establish his (Satan's) own total and final dominion over mankind. One of the mysteries in the geophysics of the planets is that most cratering on the moon, Mercury, Venus, and Mars seems to have occurred early in the history of these bodies. "Early bombardment" seems to have decreased greatly after about a billion years or so of radio-clock time had elapsed. If there were an angelic war on Mars long ago (and this of course is only speculation), it seems to us that it was not limited to Mars, but quite likely involved Venus and at least Mercury and the moon as well. Some have even wondered if the asteroid belt beyond Mars is indeed all that is left of a planet destroyed in an ancient war. A possible modified model of the solar system is this: All the planets (not just earth) were created "good;" that is, in pristine, "inhabitable" condition, but all except earth have been drastically altered by the angelic wars of eons past. Angelic warfare has never ceased since the fall of Lucifer, and angelic wars are not over yet. This "threat from the heavens" is still with us, so we not only have the dim, ancient past to worry about; we have our own future to be ready for.

Even though the hypothetical "war on Mars" (that is, an early geological disaster on Mars) appears to have occurred millions of years ago, this is a date measured in atomic clock time. According to Barry Setterfield and others, the true age of the universe is apparently less than 8000 years because of the decreasing velocity of light. This implies that the radioactive clock run rate has slowed by as much as a factor of 10 million times with respect to dynamical clock of history. In this speculative model, radical changes on Mars could have been initiated by the onset of radioactive decay rates at the fall of man, or by collision with a comet, or by events connected in some way with the flood of Noah. Mars gives evidence of a ruined, wasted place (as do Venus and Mercury as well). Apparently Mars and Venus once had oceans. Mars has now lost its atmosphere and mild climate and its water is now frozen beneath the surface as ice or permafrost. Venus now has a dense atmosphere rich in sulfuric acid, active volcanoes, and a surface temperature comparable to that of molten lead. It is thus entirely possible that the solar system is not in its original created condition, but has been badly damaged by the activity of evil angels since the fall of Satan. Likewise, it is possible that many astronomical events visible today may not be events that are part of the original creation, but may be in reality destructive disruptions amongst the stars caused by the activity of the Evil One. [See Tom Van Flandern's recent book referenced below].

In several of the Old Testament battles (involving angels) in which God is said to participate directly, we find descriptions such as the throwing down of great 100-pound hailstones from heaven and rains of fire and brimstone (sulfur), from heaven. This type of warfare is what one would expect on the planets if indeed they have been devastated and wasted by such a galactic, angelic war in the ages past. None of this speculation about ancient space wars can be "proven" from the Bible nor at present from scientific evidence but at least the Bible does not exclude such a possibility. [I hope readers will take these matters as highly speculative and not as gospel truth that can be proved from either science or from the Bible].

The return of the Shekinah Glory

Ezekiel the prophet assigned to the Jewish remnant in the Babylonian exile, saw the shining presence of the Glory of God, the Shekinah ("the cloud," or "the glory") depart from the Temple in Jerusalem just prior to its destruction. This departure occurred in stages, see Ezekiel 3:12, 13; 8:4, 9:3, 10:4, 18; 11:22. This same glorious cloud, into which Jesus ascended from the Mount of Olives forty days after His resurrection, will come again, for scripture says His splendorous presence will return to open visibility before all men. After Messiah's return, the cloud will remain over the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, according to Isaiah. Ezekiel also describes the return of the Glory to Israel, as does Isaiah,

"Afterward he [an angel] brought me [Ezekiel] to the [Golden} gate, the gate facing east. And behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the east; and the sound of his coming was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with his glory. And the vision I saw was like the vision which I had seen when he came to destroy the city, and like the vision which I had seen by the river Chebar; and I fell upon my face. As the glory of the LORD entered the temple by the gate facing east, the Spirit lifted me up, and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the LORD filled the temple. While the man [the angel] was standing beside me, I heard one speaking to me out of the temple; and he said to me, 'Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the people of Israel for ever. And the house of Israel shall no more defile my holy name, neither they, nor their kings, by their harlotry, and by the dead bodies of their kings, by setting their threshold by my threshold and their doorposts beside my doorposts, with only a wall between me and them. They have defiled my holy name by their abominations which they have committed, so I have consumed them in my anger. Now let them put away their idolatry and the dead bodies of their kings far from me, and I will dwell in their midst for ever.'" (Ezekiel 43:1-9)

Isaiah says,

"In that day the branch [a title of the Messiah] of the LORD shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and glory of the survivors of Israel. And he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, every one who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem, when the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodstains of Jerusalem from its midst by a spirit of judgment and by a spirit of burning. Then the LORD will create over the whole site of Mount Zion [the Temple Mount] and over her assemblies a cloud by day, and smoke and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory there will be a canopy and a pavilion. It will be for a shade by day from the heat, and for a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain." (Isaiah 4:1-6)

An even more familiar passage is Isaiah 40:

"Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the LORD's hand double for all her sins. A voice cries: 'In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.

"'And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.' A voice says, 'Cry!' And I said, 'What shall I cry?' All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the LORD blows upon it; surely the people is grass. The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand for ever. Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good tidings; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings, lift it up, fear not; say to the cities of Judah, 'Behold your God!' Behold, the Lord GOD comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. He will feed his flock like a shepherd, he will gather the lambs in his arms, he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.'" (40:1-11)

On the basis of what is said in scripture, it is quite likely that more frequent manifestations of angels will be common among men in coming days as our world continues to collapse and the heavenly places break through into our realm of space and time. For example, the Book of the Revelation begins with a clear distinction between "things on earth" and "things in heaven"; but as the Revelation unfolds the invisible is made known to men on earth. Those days will not be a time for fear, if (and only if) one's life is entrusted into the hand of the Great Shepherd, but they will be terrible indeed for all those who continue in their unbelief. In the final days of this age we live in the unseen will break in upon mankind in overwhelming judgments against human evil, and against fallen angels. God's New World order, His New Creation will be, at last, an answer to the most often prayed prayer in the Bible,

"Pray then like this: Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; And forgive us our debts, As we also have forgiven our debtors; And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from [the] evil [one]." (Matthew 6:9-13)

Concerning the end of our age, the prophet Joel has written,

"And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even upon the menservants and the maidservants, in those days, I will pour out my Spirit. And I will give portents in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. And it shall come to pass that all who call upon the name of the Lord shall be delivered..." (Joel 2:28-30) (Modified KJV)



Of the angels God says,
"Who makes his angels winds, and his servants flames of fire..."
Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to serve,
for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation? (Hebrews 1:7,14)

 

REFERENCES

1. Almost any book on conservative Christian theology contains a section on Angelology. Ron Rhodes of the Creation Research Institute is the author of a good book on the angels. He deals thoroughly with the recent explosion of New Age, popular, mythical, and occultic books on the angels. ( Angels Among Us, Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR, 97402, 1994) The leading Bible encyclopedias are quite helpful. An older but excellent recent book on the angels is C. Fred Dickason, Angels, Elect and Evil (Moody Press; Chicago 1975). The Apocryphal Books of the Bible (found between the Old and New Testaments of some Bibles) name a few of the angels not mentioned in the inspired portions of scripture. Only one archangel is specifically named in the Bible, Michael, the guardian angel of the nation of Israel. One ancient apocryphal books lists seven archangels who stand in the presence of God. They are named as: Uriel, Raphael, Raguel, Michael, Sarakiel, Gabriel, and Phanuel.

James Montgomery Boice describes Satan The Snake in the Garden (From his commentary on Genesis, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, 1982)

2. Arthur C. Custance has written an outstanding book on biblical genealogies. See Noah's Three Sons (Zondervan Publishing; Grand Rapids, 1975).

3. Concerning the anomalous features on Mars, see Randolfo Rafael Pozos, The Face of Mars: Evidence for a Lost Civilization? (Chicago Review Press; Chicago, 1986) and Richard C. Hoagland, The Monuments of Mars: A City on the Edge of Forever (North Atlantic Book; Berkeley, 1987).

4. At least two well-known older studies on Hebrew astronomy concerning the ancient constellations known to the Jews and their significance as a prophetic chart, have been reissued because of their lasting value: E.W. Bullinger, The Witness of the Stars (Kregel Publications; Grand Rapids, 1893/1981) and Joseph R. Seiss, The Gospel in the Stars (Kregel Publications; Grand Rapids, 1882/1982). See Signs in the Stars? by Malcolm Bowden, Lambert Dolphin, and Barry and Helen Setterfield.

5. The Sourcebook Project of William R. Corliss, PO Box 107, Glen Arm, MD 21057 is an amazing library of books and references to the odd and unusual in nature. Compiled from reputable journal abstracts and reports, mainly, Corliss has several books of his own in print and he also stocks rare, unusual and eclectic books on scientific subjects. Free newsletter.

6. Dark Matter, Missing Planets and New Comets: Paradoxes Resolved, Origins Illuminated by astronomer Tom Van Flandern Ph.D. (North Atlantic Books, Berkeley 1993) presents a radical new approach to cosmology. The book is full of thought provoking discussions that ought to be of interest to almost anyone interested in origins and the early history of the universe, whether or not you end up agreeing with him. Tom also publishes a journal, The Meta Research Bulletin. Both are available by writing PO Box 15186, Chevy Chase, MD 20825-5186. Phone (202) 362 9176, FAX (202) 362 8279, email metares@well.sf.ca.us.

7. C.S. Lewis has written a marvelous science fiction trilogy, Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength which should be read by all Christians interested in the creation as a realm of men and of angels. The first book of the series concerns Mars which is found to have been partially devastated by the activity of the Evil One. Venus, in the second book is as yet an unfallen world, but the Tempter is actively trying to bring its downfall. Earth is the place of greatest darkness and the final battle ground between good and evil, in the third book of this trilogy. This last book is especially close to the Biblical picture concerning Earth as the center of the universe because it is the place of God's "universally effective" redemptive activity and the final battleground where Satan is ultimately totally defeated. Even though fictional accounts, C.S. Lewis is well-known in our time for his profoundly-accurate perceptions of Biblical reality. On the subject of spiritual warfare, see Ray C. Stedman's Spiritual Warfare: Winning the Daily Battle With Satan.

8. Ray C. Stedman, God's Final Word: Understanding Revelation,

9. Robert C. Linthicum, City of God, City of Satan, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1991. This books is concerned with ways angelic forces are embedded in our social institutions, especially in the major cities of the world.

10. Stephen F. Noll, Angels of Light, Powers of Darkness, IVP, Downers Grove, IL, 1998. By far the most thorough and captivating treatment of the whole subject of angels.

11. Female Angels? Angels are depicted as male throughout the Bible with one puzzling exception: ...I [Zechariah] lifted my eyes and saw, and behold, a flying scroll! And he said to me, "What do you see?" I answered, "I see a flying scroll; its length is twenty cubits, and its breadth ten cubits." Then he said to me, "This is the curse that goes out over the face of the whole land; for every one who steals shall be cut off henceforth according to it, and every one who swears falsely shall be cut off henceforth according to it. I will send it forth, says the LORD of hosts, and it shall enter the house of the thief, and the house of him who swears falsely by my name; and it shall abide in his house and consume it, both timber and stones." Then the angel who talked with me came forward and said to me, "Lift your eyes, and see what this is that goes forth." And I said, "What is it?" He said, "This is the ephah that goes forth." And he said, "This is their iniquity in all the land." And behold, the leaden cover was lifted, and there was a woman sitting in the ephah! And he said, "This is Wickedness." And he thrust her back into the ephah, and thrust down the leaden weight upon its mouth. Then I lifted my eyes and saw, and behold, two women coming forward! The wind was in their wings; they had wings like the wings of a stork, and they lifted up the ephah between earth and heaven. Then I said to the angel who talked with me, "Where are they taking the ephah?" He said to me, "To the land of Shinar, to build a house for it; and when this is prepared, they will set the ephah down there on its base." (Zechariah 5)

Angels in heaven do not marry (Matt. 22:30) but they may not be sexless beings. See Notes on the Nephilim.

12. Glenn Miller of The Christian Think Tank discusses the Nature and Limitations of Evil Spirits.

by Lambert Dolphin
lambert@ldolphin.org
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