Christian Apologetics Study

ANGELIC BEINGS OF HEAVEN

Dec
08

The Holy Bible says much about the Supernatural Universe. We should all learn what the Bible reveals about the “Supernatural Universe.” There is a relationship between the “Natural” Universe and the “Spirit” Universe. However, the dividing line is our “physical” bodies. The three heavens (2 Corinthians 12:2-4) are decorated with Spirit Beings. The Holy Scriptures reveal two angelic groups, good and evil. They are described as Seraphim, Cherubim, Principalities, Powers, Age Rulers of Darkness, Wicked Spirits, (Ephesians. 6:12), Thrones, Dominions, (Colossians 1:16) Fallen Angels, (2 Peter. 2:4) Spirits in Prison, (1Peter. 3:18-20) Demons, and Seducing Spirits (1 Timothy 4:1).

The Seraphim have three pair of wings. They are the Lord of Hosts’ attendants and they call attention to His holiness (Isaiah 6:1-3). While The Cherubim or living creatures, as described in Ezekiel 1:4-6 and Ezekiel 10:1-3 have only two pair of wings, they have four faces on their head, the front face of a man, the right side of a lion, the left side of an ox (calf), and the back of an eagle. They also have the “hand of a man” under their wings on each of their four sides. They are the guardians of God’s throne.

The Four Beasts or Living Creatures found in Revelation 4:6-8 differ from the living creatures described by Ezekiel, in that each Beast instead of having four faces has but one. The first Beast has the face of a lion, the second that of a calf, the third that of a man, and the fourth that of a flying eagle, and each “Beast” has “six wings” and “eyes before and behind.” The mention of a “Rainbow” by both Ezekiel and John (Ez. 1:28, Rev. 4:3) identifies the two visions as relating to the Throne of God.

The Seraphim and Cherubim and angels, and all other heavenly supernatural beings are created beings. They did not exist from all eternity (Colossians 1:16). God first created billions and probably trillions of angels to occupy the supernatural dimensions paralleling the physical universe. In other words, angels are many in number (Hebrews12:22). They are “mighty in power” but they are not omnipotent (2Thesselonians 1:7). They excel in supernatural and natural physical strength. For example, one angel destroyed 185, 000 warriors of the Assyrian Army during a single night of battle. An angel rolled away the stone from Messiah Yeshua’s tomb, and one angel will bind Satan and cast him into the Bottomless Pit, located in the spiritual dimension of the Earth’s center. They are beings of light (Luke 9:26), and have great wisdom and knowledge, but they are not omniscient. They neither marry nor are given in marriage (Matthew. 22:30); however, this fact does not mean that they are “sexless” and have no reproductive and procreative capability. All the angels in the Holy Scriptures are described as men, and they were originally created in massive numbers because they are immortal (Luke 20:36). Therefore, they have no need for procreation, but the fact that they have such power seems confirmed in Genesis 6:1-4, where we are told that the “Sons of God” (angels), had intercourse with the “daughters of men (human women), ” and the result was a hybrid race of violent gigantic warriors, which caused God to send the global flood. From this we see that the angels-can sin.

The Angels are Ministering Spirits to them who are heirs of salvation, (Hebrews 1:13; Hebrews 1:14), and they are the executioners of God’s wrath on the wicked (2Thessalonians. 1:7-8). They will gather the elect of Israel from the four corners of the Earth, (Matthew 24:31), and are commissioned to supply the physical needs of God’s people ( Matthew 4,11;1Kings 19:4-6).

Demons are not angels. They are “disembodied Nephilim spirits beings who were destroyed during the global flood. This is plausible theory because they seek to re-embody themselves in human beings. When a person becomes possessed by these beings, they reflect the strength, power, and intellect of these demonic pre-flood beings. Demons are wicked, unclean, vicious, and have power to derange both mind and body (Matthew 12:22; Isaiah: 22; Luke 4:35; Luke 8:26-28; Luke 9:42). They are the “Familiar Spirits” of the Old Testament, and the “Seducing Spirits” of which Paul warned Timothy. 1Timothy 4:1.

THE THREE PROMINENT ANGELS

There are three prominent angels spoken of in the Holy Bible: Michael, Gabriel, and Satan.  Michael is mentioned three times in Daniel (Daniel 10:13, Daniel 10:21; Daniel 12:1), where he is called a “Prince” who stands for Daniel’s Jewish people. He is called in Jude 9 the Archangel. In Revelation 12:7, he is seen commanding the Angelic “Army of Heaven. His work seems to be to deliver God’s people, particularly the Jews, from Satan’s destructive power, and finally to oust the great adversary of God and man from the Second Heaven, and cast the enemy down to the Earth (Revelation 12:7-9). He also has something to do with the dead’s resurrection, for he is associated with the “Resurrection mentioned in Daniel 12:1, Daniel 12:2, and he contested with the Devil about Moses’ resurrection, (Jude 9) and the “voice” of the Archangel that will be heard when the dead in Messiah Yeshua will rise, (1Thessalonians 4:16), will be the Michael’s voice, for he is the only Archangel mentioned in the Bible. Furthermore, within the apocryphal Book of Enoch, Michael is one of four (Enoch 9:1; 40:9) or of seven (20:1-7) special angels or “archangels.” In Enoch, in the War Scroll (of the Dead Sea Scrolls), and in other inter-testamental literature, Michael regularly is presented either as the champion of the cause of the righteous or as the patron angel of Israel.

Gabriel is mentioned by name in the Holy Scriptures. Gabriel appeared in human form to Daniel to reveal to him the meaning of a vision, to show what would transpire on the Day of Judgment, and to give Daniel wisdom and understanding (Daniel 8:16;9:21-22). In the New Testament Gabriel appeared to Zechariah the priest as he served in the temple, to announce the birth of Zechariah’s son, John the Baptist (Luke 1:11-20). Six months later Gabriel appeared to Mary to announce that she would become the mother of Jesus, the long-awaited Messiah (1:26-33). Gabriel is commonly called an archangel but is not referred to that way in the Bible. There is an abundance of material about Gabriel in the non-canonical writings (not included in the Christian Bible) of the Jews. In the books of Enoch Gabriel is pictured as one of the four chief angels, along with Michael, Raphael, and Uriel (1 Enoch 40:3). He is one of the holy angels (1 Enoch 20:7) who looks down from heaven and is an intercessor (Enoch 9:1; 40:6; 21:3). He is to destroy the wicked (1 Enoch 9:9-10) and cast them into the furnace (1 Enoch 54:6) and is set over all powers (1 Enoch 40:9). Michael sits at God’s right hand, and Gabriel sits on the left (2 Enoch 24:1). Michael, as guardian angel of Israel (see Daniel 12:1) and a high priest of heaven, is more occupied with affairs in heaven, but Gabriel is God’s messenger who goes from heaven to execute God’s will on earth. His position in heaven is lofty, for he said of himself to Zacharias “I am Gabriel that Stand in the Presence of God.”

We mention Satan last not because he is the least of the three angels, for in many ways he is the greatest among them, but because of his evil character. He is the source of all the anarchy and rebellion in the Universe. Satan is a spirit being who is the enemy of God. Satan wants to stop God’s plans and tempt people to disobey God’s commands. Satan is seldom mentioned in the Old Testament. He is described as an angel who acts as the heavenly prosecutor (Job 1:6-12, 2:1-7 and Zechariah 3:1-2). He is called “the satan” or “the accuser,” and there is nothing in the context to indicate that the angel is evil. It is not until the late Old Testament period that Satan appears as a tempter. In 1 Chronicles 21:1, the story of 2 Samuel 24:1 is retold with Satan described as an evil figure. Some people think Lucifer in Isaiah 14:12 is a reference to Satan, but the context is clearly referring to the king of Babylon. Because of this, it is unlikely that any reference to Satan was intended. Because he is not mentioned that often, the Old Testament does not have a developed doctrine of Satan. However, the Old Testament does contain the raw material that was the source of later doctrines.

The Jews further developed the idea of Satan during the period between the Old and New Testaments. They also called him Belial, Mastema, and Sammael. Three different conceptions of Satan appear during this time. First, the Satan of the Old Testament reappears in the roles of tempting people, of accusing them in heaven before God, and of hindering God’s saving plan (Jubilees 11:5; Jubilees 17:16, Assumption of Moses 17 and 1 Enoch 40:7). Second, the Dead Sea Scrolls describe Satan as the leader of the evil forces and a spirit who attacks the righteous. This belief was probably influenced by the concept of the evil god in the Zoroastrian religion. However, unlike the Zoroastrian idea, the Dead Sea Scrolls never present two gods battling against each other. Instead, one God created both Belial and the Prince of Light, who is sure to win in the end, for God is with him. Third, in some of these writings, Satan is often identified with Old Testament stories where his name was absent. For instance, he lusted after Eve and therefore caused the fall (Wisdom of Solomon 2:24), he controls the angels who fell in Genesis 6:1-4 (Jubilees 10:5-8; 19:28), and he is a fallen angel himself (2 Enoch 29:4).

The New Testament has a developed portrayal of Satan, and he comes with a whole list of names. These include Satan, the devil, Belial, Beelzebul, the Adversary, the Dragon, the Enemy, the Serpent, the Tester, and the Wicked One. Satan is often described as the ruler of a host of angels (Matthew 25:41) and the controller of the world (Luke 4:6, Acts 26:18, 2 Corinthians 4:4), who especially governs all people who are not Christians (Mark 4:15, John 8:44, Acts 13:10 and Colossians 1:13). He is opposed to God, and he wants to alienate all people from God. Because of this, he is an especially dangerous enemy of Christians (Luke 8:33, 1 Corinthians 7:5 and 1 Peter 5:8). Christians must resist him and see through his cunning (2 Corinthians 2:11, Ephesians 6:11 and James 4:7). Satan works his evil will by tempting people (John 13:2 and Acts 5:3), by hindering God’s workers (1 Thessalonians 2:18), by accusing Christians before God (Revelation 12:10), and by controlling the evil people who resist the message of the gospel (2 Thessalonians 2:9, Revelation 2:9, 13 and 13:2).

Finally, the New Testament teaches us that Satan, who has been evil from the beginning (1 John 3:8), has now been defeated because of Yeshua’s life, ministry, death, burial, and resurrection (Luke 10:18, Matthew 20-28,  and Revelation 12 )

. While Satan is still a dangerous enemy, Yeshua himself prays for us and has given us the powerful weapons of prayer, faith, and his blood. Satan can still cause physical illness when God allows him to (2 Corinthians 12:7), and people can be delivered over to him for punishment (1 Corinthians 5:5 and 1 Timothy 1:20). However, Satan will always be under God’s control, and the Bible tells us that God will eventually destroy him (Romans 16:20 and Revelation 20:10).

RELATED SOURCES

Halley’s Bible Handbook by Henry Halley; Three Views on Creation and Evolution by J.P. Morland & J.M. Reynolds; Understanding Creation by Mark Worthon & Hill Roberts; Understanding The Bible by Kendell H. Easley; The Dead Sea Scrolls by Craig A. Evans; Christian Apologetics by Doug Powell. Dispensational Truth by Rev. Clarence Larkin.

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