02 January, 2007

The Bible - Fallen Angels

The biggest and most glaring problem with the belief in fallen angels is the reference to such a fall in Revelation 12. The fall of Satan and a third of the angels is reportedly said to have happened sometime during or before creation, however a quick look at Revelation 1:1 shows that this timeline is impossible:

Rev 1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John.

There can be no doubt here that Revelation does not contain in it any event which has already occurred (since this would be a contradiction of "come to pass"). Thus to use this passage to prove an imaginary event before creation is absolutely incorrect.

If I were to ask: 'Can you give me a brief Biblical history of the devil, according to your interpretation of Bible passages?' the responses would be highly contradictory. According to mainstream Christian 'reasoning', the answer has to be something like this:
1.The devil was an Angel in Heaven who was thrown out into the garden of Eden. He was thrown to earth in Genesis 1.
2. He is supposed to have come to earth and married in Genesis 6.
3. At the time of Job he is said to have had access to both Heaven and earth.
4. By the time of Isaiah 14 he is thrown out of Heaven again and back to earth.
5. In Zechariah 3 he is in Heaven again.
6. He is on earth again in Matthew 4. He is "cast out" at the time of Jesus' death, according to the popular view of "the prince of this world" being "cast out" at that time.
7. There is a prophecy of the devil being 'cast out' in Rev. 12.
8. The devil is "chained" in Rev. 20, but he and his angels were chained in Genesis, according to the common view of Jude v 6. If he was bound with 'eternal chains' then, how is he chained up again in Rev. 20?

From this it should be obvious that the popular view that the devil was cast out of Heaven for sinning cannot be true, seeing that he is described as still being in Heaven after each occurrence of being 'cast out'. It is vital to understand both 'Heaven' and the devil in a figurative sense.

As for the possibility of angels sinning: Jesus tells us in Rev 4:11: "THOU hast created ALL things and for thy pleasure they are and were created". The purpose of this special creation of angels by God is explained by the Apostle Paul: "Are thy not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation". Are demons/fallen angels ministering spirits in the sense of this verse...?

It is not realistic to assume that He created one bad angel and one good one, and so on. He created perfect immortal spiritual beings, the like of which we hope to be when the Lord Jesus rewards those who have loved and served Him. IF it was possible for angels to sin then what is the value of being made like unto the angels? Why resist sin in this life supposedly secure in the hope that we will be made LIKE UNTO THE ANGELS (Luke 20:35), if we are merely exchanging one sinful nature for another? This is not the case at all, for God created these pure spiritual beings to be in His presence and we are told by Habakuk "Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil and canst not look on iniquity." (Hab.1:13).

Thus there could never have been angels thrown out of heaven for rebelling against the Father. It's nothing short of an impossibility.

19 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

voirdire here - Ah. I see now. You are a Christadelphian. I thought at first you might be an apostate JW; so many similar beliefs. I'm sure you've had many opportunities to talk to JWs so I won't take up your bandwidth debating doctrine. May you find what you're searching for.

January 03, 2007 4:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As for the possibility of angels sinning: Jesus tells us in Rev 4:11: "THOU hast created ALL things and for thy pleasure they are and were created". The purpose of this special creation of angels by God is explained by the Apostle Paul: "Are thy not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation". Are demons/fallen angels ministering spirits in the sense of this verse...?

Yeah, humans included and humans can sin. Satan or The Satans, whatever, were also created to pleasure god according to Rev 4:11, I suppose Hell was created to pleasure god too. Ok, How god could create an evil angel? Even if Satan isn't an angel he must be creation of god, is that right? Then Rev 20 says Satan will be thrown ito the Lake of Fire, thereof Satan must be evil.

The multiple "falling" instances could be just accounts of the same event (the way you justified Genesis) given that the Bible is not a book proper, but a compilation of books from different epochs.

Paul wasn't one of the 12, he never saw Jesus in the flesh, yet you seem to staunchly believe everything he said. Wouldn't Paul be talking about the 2/3 of angels that remained loyal to YHWH? What could Paul really know about angels given that he just catch a glimpse of Jesus in the road to Damascus? He didn't received the Holy Ghost in Pentecost either.

Elsewhere I read humans are superior to angels because of free will, although it appears that angels have free will too because of Satan and the fall of one third of heaven's angels. There's a sect believing god made pure spirits bow before Adam and Eve, but Satan (How would you call him?) didn't, because he knew humans are nothing but dumb filthy evil meatbags.

Verily, verily (heh) I´d like to know who the "sons of god" from Genesis 6:2 are. Were they Sitchin's Anunaki? Enochian angels? The Elohim?

Ach, Elohim. I read Elohim being a plural noun supports the notion of the Trinity.

Also according to Genesis 1:26 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, [b] and over all the creatures that move along the ground."

You know, the Bible is frigging confusing.

January 04, 2007 11:10 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

The Bible isn’t confusing. It’s people who make things more difficult then they need to be.

Humans aren’t superior to angels. It’s precisely comments like this that are at the root of the very confusion you blame the Bible for. Hebrews 2:7-9, 16.

The sons of God in Genesis 6:2 were most likely men from the righteous line of Seth (Gen 4:16) intermarrying with the evil Canaanites. We can rest assured that whoever they were, they were normal, mortal men. People add to the “confusion of the Bible” by stating they were angels or some other supernatural being.

A Trinitarian will read anything plural as being evidence of the Trinity.

Let’s start at the beginning: What’s your definition of a demon & Satan? Where and when did the fall supposedly occur? Use Biblical references so we have a common point of discussion.

January 04, 2007 2:46 PM  
Anonymous Jacques said...

Hi again.

It is you the one making things difficult, Jason. The Bible says sons of God yet you add "they probably were from the line of Seth" How do you know? Why didn't the Bible say the sons of Seth straight out???
I think Canaan was Ham's son cursed by Noah (Genesis 9:22); the daughters of men couldn't be Canaanites since Canaan wasn't even born then.

How could Seth's sons be God's sons proper, given that Seth was a man?

Anyway, thanks for the answer. I'd like to read further on the subject, any references?

I'm not satisfied with your answer to Elohim and Genesis 1:26

Again, who wrote the Epistle to the Hebrews? It was Paul? Apollonius? Barnabas? An unknown stranger?

I have to make a list. From what I can recall, there's Job's Satan which according to the Jewish Encyclopedia is an angel of God; there's the one who tempted Jesus offering him a view of all the kingdoms in the world from atop a high mountain (That couldn't be possible since Earth is a sphere); there's the Satan Jesus saw falling like lightning from Heaven; and the Satan who is the Dragon, who is the Serpent, who is the Devil :) that will be thrown into the Lake of Fire. All of these Satans have negative connotations, therefor I assume (and the Church fathers would agree with me) that Satan is God's and humankind's adversary. That's it.

January 04, 2007 4:51 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

Humans are not superior to angels. And the sons of God aren’t angels because angels don’t marry. These are basic, simple, Bible-proven facts. Comments suggesting otherwise, therefore, are wrong and when they’re repeated, they serve only to confuse.

I said the sons of God are “probably” the line of Seth. It wasn’t a statement of fact. The point is we’re simply not told. We do know though what they aren’t – angels.

Typo on my part. Canaan should have been “Cain”.

Again, you’re adding confusion to this simple matter by making gross assumptions without any Biblical support. There’s no record whatsoever of the “sons of God” being God’s sons proper. “Sons of God” can refer to angels as it may in Job 38:7, but the expression is also used of men. (See Deut. 14:1, Hosea 1:10, Luke 3:38, John 1:12, 1 John 3:1). Seth was a man. Seth’s sons were men. Seth’s sons could have been the “sons of God”.

I’m not satisfied with the assumption that ‘elohim’ supports the Trinity. Here’s why: The Hebrew world "elohim" translated "God" is an elastic word, much like "soul" or "spirit". It is translated "goddess" (1 Kings 11:33), "judges" (Exod. 21:6), and applied to pagan idols in Judges 16:23 and 1 Kings 11:33. It is generally acknowledged that it comes from a root meaning "power" or the "strong one". The plural "elohim" means "powerful ones" or "strong ones". This is precisely the description of the angels, the which God often performs His creative work through. "Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word." (Psa. 103:20). Secondly, the Jews, of all people, are fiercely monotheistic. The Hebrew word, "elohim" translated "God" and the plurals "us" and "our" have never suggested Trinitarian ideas to them. Nor is there any New Testament allusion to indicate that in their interpretation of this passage they were mistaken.

The Bible doesn’t tell us who wrote Hebrews.

I’m not looking for references to Satan, I’m asking for a definition of who/what you think he is. Same with demons. Are you aware what I believe about both because I’m not sure what point are you trying to make.

January 04, 2007 9:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

voirdire here. Ok. I’ll sucker in first. Ahem. In many places in the Hebrew Scriptures, the Hebrew word “satan” appears without the definite article. Used in this way, it applies in its first appearance to the angel that stood in the road to resist Balaam as he set out with the objective of cursing the Israelites. (Nu 22:22, 32) In other instances it refers to individuals as resisters of other men. (1Sa 29:4; 2Sa 19:21, 22;1Ki 5:4; 11:14, 23, 25) But it is used with the definite article "ha" to refer to Satan the Devil, the chief
Adversary of God. (Job 1:6; 2:1-7; Zec 3:1, 2)
Devil (diabolos- slanderer; Greek) is a descriptive name given to Satan (the Devil). In the Greek
Scriptures the word “satanas” applies to Satan the Devil in nearly all of its occurrences and is usually accompanied by the definite article "ho."

God is the only Creator, and ‘his activity is perfect,’ with no injustice or unrighteousness. (De 32:4) Therefore, the one becoming Satan was, when created, a perfect, righteous creature of God. He is a
spirit person, for he appeared in heaven in the presence of God. (Job chaps 1, 2; Re 12:9) Jesus Christ
said of him: “That one was a manslayer when he began, and he did not stand fast in the truth, because
truth is not in him.” (Joh 8:44; 1Jo 3:8) Jesus there shows that Satan was once in the truth, but forsook it.
Beginning with his first overt act in turning Adam and Eve away from God, he was a manslayer, for he
thereby brought about the death of Adam and Eve, which, in turn, brought sin and death to their offspring. (Ro 5:12)

January 04, 2007 11:08 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

Hi Voirdire,

Thanks for your comment. Before we go any further, using Scriptural references, could you show where Satan came from and how long he's been around? It'd help to establish a foundation to build from.

January 05, 2007 12:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

voirdire said: The exact location and time of Satan’s creation is not set forth in the Bible. God no doubt had good reason for ensuring that Satan be given limited, sometimes inferential, exposure in the Hebrew Scriptures. (Deuteronomy 18:9-13) The Hebrew writers were inspired only to define and expose the sins of God’s people and the nations around them. (Exodus 20: 1-17) By the time of Zechariah,holy spirit was letting Satan’s role
become clearer. (Zechariah 3: 1, 2)

January 05, 2007 10:23 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

I’m unsure what the Deut 18 reference is about…? And I’m also unsure about Satan’s role becoming “clearer”. Where are we told the Holy Spirit, and not God’s inspiration, was allowing Satan’s role to become clearer? Paul is crystal clear in Romans 7 about where evil and sin exists (:18). He makes no mention about a supernatural evil entity being the cause of his sin. If Satan’s role was clear in the NT, why isn’t there reference to him here?

Zechariah 3:1-2
Satan is “adversary”. Would you agree that there’s nothing here to suggest the adversary resisting Joshua was a supernatural evil being?

January 05, 2007 11:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

voirdire said: I think it’s going to be very difficult to carry on this discussion over the internet.
That said:
1. The reference to Deuteronomy 18 was merely to show an inferential mention of Satan or other
supernatural source since those condemned for asking for and receiving answers from the dead
were clearly receiving them from someone else. Just background, really, to note that the true nature of some things in the Bible are not immediately clear.
2. You seem to be noting an important distinction between “God’s inspiration” and “Holy Spirit” that eludes me. I guess the latter is the source of the former but, I'm missing your point.
3. True. In Romans 7:18, Satan was not the cause of Paul’s sin. That is why he is not
mentioned.
5. Zechariah 3: 1-2: No. I would not agree.

January 05, 2007 1:38 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

1. Deut. 18 is simply a listing of those practices that the people were told not to learn from the nations already in the Promised Land. The NIV says (:10,11) “Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead.”

People practicing these 'professions' are still around today but you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who thinks the people who ‘consult the dead’ are legit. Besides, an individual claims to talk to the dead isn’t proof the dead talk back especially in light of verses like Ecc 9:5 "The living know that they shall die but the dead know not anything" and Psalm 146:4, "His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth: in that very day his thoughts perish." How do the dead talk back if they don’t know anything and if their thoughts have perished?

2. My question is, where are we told the Holy Spirit grew more powerful so as to allow writers to more clearly define Satan? My point is inspiration is inspiration. There’s nothing to say Moses was any less inspired then someone like John the Baptist.

Regardless, the very foundation of Judaism is based on the Old Testament. Why would God hide the existence and nature of Satan from His own chosen people?

3. In Romans 7:18, Paul is making generic comments about the nature of man. He makes no excuses about where the root of sin rests: (From the NLT) 16 “I know perfectly well that what I am doing is wrong, and my bad conscience shows that I agree that the law is good. 17 But I can't help myself, because it is sin inside me that makes me do these evil things.”

The devil, or Satan, is nothing more then the the personification of sin in the flesh. Note that Jesus “destroyed the devil” (Heb 2:14) and “sin" by his death (Heb 9:26). The devil and sin both have the power of death. Compare Romans 6:23 with Hebrews 2:24. The devil and sin therefore are one and the same.

It therefore follows that we cannot blame a fallen-angel-devil for our sins. This is confirmed by James when he writes: "Every man is tempted when he is drawn away of HIS OWN LUST, and enticed.” (James 1:14). This agrees with the teaching of Jesus when he said "From within, out of the heart of man, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness" all of these evil things come from within, and defile the man" (Mark 7:21-23). Personal responsibility.

It was this law of sin in his members that Jesus fought and won. He overcame sin at it's source. "he was tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:15) In other words, Christ destroyed the devil.

4. What language in Zechariah 3 suggests Satan is more then a simple adversary, that he’s a supernatural evil entity? How can we tell, based on the text, that Zechariah isn’t just referring to a man like Rezon (1 Kings 11:23). He’s called “Satan” (adversary) and so is God (1 Chrion 21:1) but we don’t make assumptions either one is Satan proper in these instances.

January 05, 2007 3:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

voirdire said: Running late so must rush this post.
1. You make my point. The dead are conscious of nothing. If you inquire of the dead and you get an answer, it’s from someone or something else. Unless your nuts.
2. Nothing is “more powerful.” More is revealed. For example, that’s the nature of the sacred
secret of the seed. Moses didn’t know who or what it was. Paul did.
3. Even so, a person who makes sin his business or practice reveals himself to be a “child” of the
Adversary, Satan, a spiritual offspring reflecting the qualities of his “father.” See, e.g., (1 Jo 3:8-12) The fact that a person is drawn out by his own desire has nothing to do with the existence or
non-existence of another person or entity.
4. Compare Rev: 12:10. Sounds a lot alike to me.

January 05, 2007 5:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

voirdire said: Jason, I have done some more research and see that Christadelphians have applied
the scriptures in answer to most challenges to their beliefs and in challenge to others. It would
seem useless to continue matching scripture for scripture under these circumstances. Not that I do not admire the effort. Quite the contrary. Ironically, there are only a handful of Christian
religions that understand that Jesus cannot be God, that there is no Trinity, that there is no
immortal soul, that the dead are not subject to eternal torment in a fiery hell.

But, I do have to observe that the scriptures and the life of Jesus Christ give reason to believe that
Jehovah’s justice, wisdom, power and love have something greater and more loving than annihilation in store for all those of mankind who, through no fault of their own, died without the opportunity of even hearing God’s truth or of living long enough to act on it.

No doubt the resurrection will hold surprises for many. So long.

January 05, 2007 10:41 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

1. Contacting the dead in the 21st century is done with Ouijia boards. If you buy a Ouijia board, should I automatically assume Satan exists?

The attempt to contact the dead isn’t any kind of proof that a supernatural evil force is alive and well. Someone who says they can consult with the dead doesn’t mean we should simply believe them because of their claim. This was the same for the Israelites.

2. Things were revealed to people like Paul because events were occurring in his time that weren’t occurring in Moses’ time, specifically the coming Christ. This doesn’t mean the Holy Spirit was working any stronger in Paul’s life then it was in Moses’, it was just a matter of which person was in what situation.

I’ll post this again: The very foundation of Judaism is based on the Old Testament. Why would God hide the existence and nature of Satan from His own chosen people?

3. Jesus makes it clear that evil comes from within. He makes no reference whatsoever to a third-party. 1 John 3:8: "diablos" or "devil" (i.e the flesh) was there from the beginning (Adam & Eve and the reign of sin).

4. Revelation 12 is a prophecy of things to come (i.e. they hadn’t happened yet). If it is “Satan” in Zechariah 3, how could Satan have been cast down if he wasn’t actually cast down for another few centuries or so?

The Hebrew word for “resist” in Zech 3:1 is also “satan”. It literally means, sure enough, “resist”. So, we have an adversary (satan) of Joshua resisting (satan) him. Adversaries resist. This is what they do. Numbers 22:22 & 32 uses precisely the same language as Zech 3:1. In vs. 22, we’re introduced to the adversary (Heb. “satan”) as being an angel of God. In vs. 32, we’re told how the angel fulfilled his role – he “withstood” (Heb. “satan”) him. Same language used in Zech 3, except that the satan in Numbers 22 is named. He isn’t named in Zechariah. This is hardly justification for claiming Zechariah’s satan is actually the prince of darkness!

January 07, 2007 7:55 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

Voirdire,

Regarding the annihilation of all those who haven’t heard God’s word, the judgment isn’t up to us. Paul makes this perfectly clear in his letter to the Romans:

Rom 9:14-16 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

All we can do with our time in this life is to preach to as many people as possible and try to live our lives in a way pleasing to God. Things beyond our control, such as, for example, preaching to blind & deaf infants in orphanages in Beirut, should not distract us from our goal. God will give salvation to all those He deems worthy and so I sleep comfortably at night knowing that whatever He decides, it will be a righteous and perfect decision.

Thanks for the chat. I’m sorry to see it end due to the supposed “uselessness” in challenging Bible verse with Bible verse. I will still look forward to continuing this discussion again some day.

January 07, 2007 8:06 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

I see this is an old discussion but a very good one. Iron sharpens iron. I would like to add a few statements into the fray.

1) in answer to anonymous...'there are only a handful of Christian
religions that understand that Jesus cannot be God, that there is no Trinity, that there is no
immortal soul, that the dead are not subject to eternal torment in a fiery hell'...I say they are not Christian religions!!!

2) some think that the devil and the angels were created on the the second day. They think this because the Bible does not say, "and God saw that it was good" on the second day. They sumise that on that day God foresaw the dark seed of pride in Lucifer.

April 07, 2007 5:00 PM  
Blogger Roberta said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

January 27, 2011 9:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"What does the Bible say about demons?"

Answer: Revelation 12:9 is the clearest scripture on the identity of demons, “The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.” Satan’s fall from heaven is symbolically described in Isaiah 14:12-15 and Ezekiel 28:12-15. Revelation 12:4 seems to indicate that Satan took one-third of the angels with him when he sinned. Jude 6 mentions angels who sinned. The Bible indicates that the demons are fallen angels who, along with Satan, rebelled against God.

Satan and his demons now look to destroy and deceive all those who follow and worship God (1 Peter 5:8; 2 Corinthians 11:14-15). The demons are described as evil spirits (Matthew 10:1), unclean spirits (Mark 1:27), and angels of Satan (Revelation 12:9). Satan and his demons deceive the world (2 Corinthians 4:4), attack Christians (2 Corinthians 12:7; 1 Peter 5:8), and combat the holy angels (Revelation 12:4-9). Demons are spiritual beings, but they can appear in physical forms (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). The demons/fallen angels are enemies of God, but they are defeated enemies. Greater is He who is in us, than those who are in the world (1 John 4:4).

January 27, 2011 9:53 PM  
Anonymous Jason said...

Thanks for your comments. Many of your points, including the Revelation and Jude references, are addressed in the original post. I look forward to your response.

January 31, 2011 11:23 AM  

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