Friday, April 4, 2014

FOUNDATIONS - The Host of Heaven and the Rulers of This Age




















There are some things that Yahweh in His providence has chosen to reveal to His people in mere glimpses. There are some matters that are too great for us to bear at this time. The apostle Paul was given visions of heavenly matters that are beyond the ken of mortal man. He was at one time caught up into the third heaven where he “heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak” (II Corinthians 12:4).

There is some knowledge that Yahweh has chosen to hide from mortal men. God is very judicious in choosing how much revelation, knowledge, and understanding to parcel out to the descendants of Adam. The apostle John spoke of experiences Yahweh has destined for mankind that are at present unknowable.

I John 3:2
Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.

In these mortal tents in which we now dwell we “see as through a glass darkly.” Not only are there future things that Yahweh has hidden from mankind, but there are past and present things that have not been fully disclosed to us. The subject I would write about now is of such a hidden nature that I do not believe any man can be acclaimed to be an “expert” in the field. Even if one were to know everything that has been disclosed to humanity about angels and the hosts of heaven, his knowledge must be regarded as elementary. The deeper things pertaining to the heavens have been sealed, to be disclosed to the seed of Adam when they enter into their majority.

In writing this section of this book I am reminded of the words of the Psalmist:

Psalms 131:1
Yahweh, my heart is not haughty, nor my eyes lofty; neither do I exercise myself in matters too great or in things too wonderful for me.

I will not pretend to possess knowledge which is beyond my present grasp. I am but an infant when it comes to the knowledge of the angelic hosts. Yet, God has not withheld all information from mankind that pertains to the angels. Sadly, of that which has been declared in the Scriptures, much has been misapprehended by Christians. There are many spurious doctrines being taught today concerning the angels, Satan, and spiritual forces in the heavens. It is important that we understand aright that which Yahweh has deemed fit to disclose to us. It is my hope that at the end of this present chapter you will perceive some things more accurately about the hosts of heaven and the rulers of this age.

I Corinthians 2:6-8
Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God's wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom, which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory...

In an earlier chapter we looked at the preeminent position that Yahshua, the Son of God, holds among the creation. He is declared to be “the firstborn” and “the beginning of the creation of God” (Revelation 3:14). Yahshua is “the only begotten of the Father.” That is to say, He is the only direct generation of Yahweh. All other things in the creation came into being after the Son and through the Son.

Colossians 1:15-16
And He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things have been created by Him and for Him.

The words “thrones,” “dominions,” “rulers,” and “authorities” are references to angelic beings. These words give us some inkling as to the role that angels have had entrusted to them, roles which even the fallen angels continue to occupy to this day. Each of these words describe some aspect of oversight, of exercising authority and judgment over a specific domain. Following are some other Bible passages that refer to angels in their roles as rulers and authorities of this age.

Ephesians 1:19-21
These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come.

Ephesians 3:10
In order that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.

Ephesians 6:12
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Colossians 2:15
When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.

I Peter 3:21-22
Yahshua Christ, who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him.























The Heavenly Host by Gustave Dore

What each of these passages reveal is that Yahweh entrusted to the heavenly host ruling authority over the creation. These angelic beings were heavenly shepherds, angelic sovereigns, tasked with the charge of carrying out Yahweh’s will among the vast creation. Even as Yahweh placed man in the Garden of Eden and committed it to his care, so He created the hosts of heaven and entrusted to them the oversight of the worlds He has made. The Bible tells us that these angelic beings were present at the creation of the earth. In the following passage Yahweh is speaking to Job.

Job 38:4-7
"Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. Who set its measurements, since you know? Or who stretched the line on it?  On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”

The phrases “morning stars” and “sons of God” are both expressions that are used in reference to the angels and heavenly host. We see a variant of these expressions used in reference to Lucifer/Satan.

Isaiah 14:12
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!

One reason that I believe the angels are described as morning stars is that they are brilliant heavenly creatures manifesting the glory of Yahweh. It seems fitting that angels should be called morning stars because they were among the first luminous creations that Yahweh formed. All that Yahweh creates is light, for He is light, and in Him is no shadow or variation. The Bible in a number of places reveals the glorious, luminous, aspect of angelic beings.

Luke 2:9
And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them...

II Corinthians 11:14
For even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

All the heavenly host were originally created as angels of light. Some, however, have turned away from the light of God and have become darkened in their minds and in their character. Some have wondered why the appellation “morning star” is also used as a Biblical reference for the firstborn Son of God.

II Peter 1:19
And so we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.

Revelation 22:16
"I, Yahshua, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright morning star."

This title is appropriate for both Christ and the angels. Both reveal the glory of God. Both are among the earliest of Yahweh’s creations. Both are heavenly beings. Yet Christ is preeminent. The Son of God is not “a morning star.” He is “THE morning star.” We can understand the distinction as we consider that in America there are many “white houses,” but there is only one “White House.” This is the home of the American President, the chief executive of the nation.

We understand from the Scriptures that Yahshua, the only begotten Son of God, preceded all other things in the creation. Afterwards, the Son of God created the heavenly hosts. These were in turn present to witness the creation of the earth. Man, by comparison, is a relative latecomer.

Another Biblical expression used to denote angels is “sons of God.” There are some who are teaching that the Old Testament phrase “sons of God” (Hebrew - bene ha elohim) is NOT a reference to angels.

Genesis 6:1-2
Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God (bene ha elohim) saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose.

Job 1:6
Now there was a day when the sons of God (bene ha elohim) came to present themselves before Yahweh, and Satan also came among them.

The most common argument against angels being called “sons of God” is based upon a misunderstanding of the following Scripture passage.

Hebrews 1:5
For to which of the angels did He ever say: "You are My Son, today I have begotten You"?

In this passage the apostle is declaring the preeminence of Christ above all other created beings. He is making a Scriptural argument that Yahshua is greater than all of the angels. Some in reading what the apostle has written declare, “See, he has said that God never refers to the angels as sons.” This is NOT what the apostle wrote. The apostle is directly referencing an Old Testament prophecy of the Messiah.

Psalms 2:6-7
“But as for Me, I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain. I will surely tell of the decree of Yahweh: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You.’”

It is improper Biblical exegesis to break apart this Bible quotation and cite Hebrews 1:5 as “For to which of the angels did He ever say: ‘You are My Son’?” We cannot stop there. If we abused the Scriptures in this manner we could come up with many errant ideas. The apostle is stating that the prophecy from the Psalms “You are My Son, today I have begotten You,” was not spoken of an angel. It was only spoken of Yahshua. It is error to conclude that no part of this prophetic statement is true of the angels. It is the statement in its entirety that cannot be applied to angelic beings. The angels are sons of God, but there is only one Son who was directly begotten from the Father.

It should not seem strange to Christians that Yahweh refers to angels as sons of God any more than that He should refer to Adam as “the son of God” (Luke 3:38). Like Adam, angels are sentient beings with free will. They were created to show forth the glory of God. Furthermore, we find that angels are referred to as “gods” in the Bible.

Psalms 82:1
God (Elohim) has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods (elohim) he holds judgment.

The Hebrew term “elohim” denotes “a mighty one.” This is not a name. It is merely a title. This word appears approximately 2,600 times in the Old Testament, and is most often used as a reference to Yahweh. However, in a small percentage of occurrences it is used as a reference to angels, to the false gods of other nations, or as a reference to a mighty man.

Genesis 23:5-6
And the children of Heth answered Abraham, saying unto him, “Hear us, my lord: you are a mighty (elohim) prince among us.”

Laban, the father-in-law of Jacob, spoke the following to him.

Genesis 31:29-30
“It is in my power to do you harm, but the God of your father spoke to me last night, saying, 'Be careful not to speak either good or bad to Jacob.' And now you have indeed gone away because you longed greatly for your father's house; but why did you steal my gods (elohim)?”

Later on, Jacob spoke to his family and all those in his retinue, saying, “"Put away the foreign gods (elohim) which are among you” (Genesis 35:2). Also of Moses we read:

Exodus 7:1
Then Yahweh said to Moses, “See, I make you a god (elohim) to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet.”

The gods of Egypt are likewise referred to as “elohim.”

Exodus 12:12-13
“For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods (elohim) of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am Yahweh.”

When one discerns the root meaning of “elohim” as “mighty ones” it appears quite fitting that the angels should be described by this Hebrew term. Angels are greater in power and might than mankind. Whenever angels appeared to men throughout the Bible, we see that a common reaction is for the individual(s) encountering angels to fall prostrate before them. This is true even of righteous men.

A significant difference between holy angels, and fallen angels is related to the human response to their glorious appearance. Satan and other fallen angels invite mankind to worship them, while the holy angels direct the worship of mankind to Yahweh. At the beginning of Yahshua’s ministry we see that Satan even tempted the Son of God to worship him.














Matthew 4:8-9
Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world, and their glory; and he said to Him, “All these things will I give You, if You fall down and worship me.”

This prideful and rebellious attitude is a trait of the fallen angels. In contrast, the holy angels forbid men to worship them.

Revelation 22:8-9
And I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things. And he said to me, "Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book; worship God."

Revelation 19:10
And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said to me, “Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God.”

The glory and might of angels are such that mortal men are left stunned and bereft of strength when they see them unveiled.

Daniel 8:15-18
And it came about when I, Daniel, had seen the vision, that I sought to understand it; and behold, standing before me was one who looked like a man. And I heard the voice of a man between the banks of Ulai, and he called out and said, "Gabriel, give this man an understanding of the vision." So he came near to where I was standing, and when he came I was frightened and fell on my face; but he said to me, "Son of man, understand that the vision pertains to the time of the end." Now while he was talking with me, I sank into a deep sleep with my face to the ground; but he touched me and made me stand upright.

Many of the “gods” that the nations serve are in fact fallen angels who have authority over regions, people, and parts of the creation. In the New Testament the apostle Paul acknowledges that many such “gods” exist, but he distinguishes these gods from the self-existent God who is the source of all things.

I Corinthians 8:5-6
For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Yahshua Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.

In these words of the apostle Paul we find that angelic beings are not only acknowledged as “gods,” but they are once more noted to be “lords.” That is to say, they have been entrusted with ruling authority. When a man or woman becomes a Christian they experience a transfer from the domain of Satan to the Kingdom of God. Therefore, it is proper for Paul to state that Christians have only one Lord, Yahshua the Messiah.

Colossians 1:13
For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son...

What should not be overlooked in this statement is that there continues to be a domain of darkness. In the Scripture above the words “domain” and “kingdom” are used in parallel to one another. One definition of the word domain is “the territory governed by a single ruler or government; realm.” In Luke’s gospel we read of Satan describing his dominion to Yahshua.

Luke 4:5-7
And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, "I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours."

The Lord never reproached Satan for lying in this statement. What Satan spoke was indeed true. All the kingdoms of this world have been handed over to him. He has been granted ruling authority over the earth, an authority that God acknowledges. In another place Christ described Satan as “the ruler of this world.”

John 16:8-11
“And [the Holy Spirit], when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you no longer behold Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.”

Few Christians today understand that Satan and his angels legitimately hold positions of authority and power before God as rulers and judges of Yahweh’s creation. When Adam chose obedience to Satan over obedience to God in the garden of Eden, Satan was able to regain dominion over the earth. Adam sold all mankind into subservience and slavery to the rule of Satan. The apostle Paul provides the following insight.

Romans 6:16
Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey...

Because all humanity was “in Adam” when he presented himself for obedience to Satan, all mankind fell under the dominion of Satan. It would be 4,000 years before God sent His firstborn Son to earth to begin the process of delivering mankind from the rule of Satan in order to reconcile them to Himself.

There is a tremendous parable in the Old Testament that provides deep insight into the rule of Satan and his angels up until this day. It is a story of an exchange of kingdoms from one lineage to another. In the manifold details that the Bible provides of these two kingdoms and their rulers, we can glean a tremendous amount of insight into the domain of darkness and its relationship to the Kingdom of the Son of God. The story is found in the books of I and II Samuel. It is the history of Israel’s first human king (Saul), and the man whom Yahweh chose to succeed him (David).

The Israelites demand for a human king to lead them follows the pattern of Adam turning away from God to be ruled by another. Observe what Yahweh communicates to the prophet Samuel when the Israelites clamor for a king.

I Samuel 8:7
And Yahweh said to Samuel, “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.”

Did not Adam reject Yahweh’s rule when he embraced Satan’s temptation in the garden? King Saul is a type of Satan. They share numerous traits in common. Among their similarities is their impressive physical appearance.

Satan
Ezekiel 28:12-14
“You had the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The ruby, the topaz, and the diamond; The beryl, the onyx, and the jasper; The lapis lazuli, the turquoise, and the emerald; And the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, was in you. On the day that you were created they were prepared. You were the anointed cherub who covers, and I placed you there.”

Saul
I Samuel 9:1-2
Now there was a man of Benjamin whose name was Kish the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Becorath, the son of Aphiah, the son of a Benjamite, a mighty man of valor. And he had a son whose name was Saul, a choice and handsome man, and there was not a more handsome person than he among the sons of Israel; from his shoulders and up he was taller than any of the people.

Both Satan and Saul were humble when God appointed them to their high callings and entrusted great authority to them, but they later became prideful.

Satan
Ezekiel 28:15, 17
You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, until unrighteousness was found in you.... Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor.

I Timothy 3:6-7
[An overseer must not be] a new convert, lest he become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil.

Saul
I Samuel 15:17
“Is it not true, though you were little in your own eyes, you were made the head of the tribes of Israel? And Yahweh anointed you king over Israel...”

Both Satan and Saul rebelled against the will of God, proving to be insubordinate, stubborn, and self-willed.

Satan
Isaiah 14:13-14
But you said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”

Saul
I Samuel 15:22-23
And Samuel said, “Has Yahweh as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of Yahweh? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of Yahweh, He has also rejected you from being king.”

Both Satan and Saul use(d) the promise of material reward to persuade men to serve them.

Satan
Luke 4:5-7
And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, "I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours."

Saul
I Samuel 8:10-15
And Samuel told all the words of the Lord unto the people that asked of him a king. And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you... And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants.

I Samuel 22:7
And Saul said to his servants who stood around him, “Hear now, O Benjamites! Will the son of Jesse also give to all of you fields and vineyards? Will he make you all commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds?”

Do we not see today that Satan gives to his chief human servants the wealth of the planet? Does he not give them power to steal the material possessions of hard working men and women, and to enrich themselves at the expense of others? Does not Satan promise his human servants authority as rulers of mankind?

Many more parallels could be observed between Satan and Saul, for both were murderers and liars. Both of them had judgment pronounced on them by God. Both of them were cast down to the earth. (“How have the mighty have fallen...”) Both of them became adversaries of the righteous servants of Yahweh, and both have, or will have, their kingdoms wrested from them and given to another who is better then themselves.

One of my chief reasons for drawing your attention to the parallels between Satan and Saul is to help the people of God to understand the authority and anointing that Satan continues to bear among the creation of God. Even as Yahweh anointed Saul to serve as ruler over His people, so too did He anoint Satan with great authority and power. The Bible describes Satan as an “anointed cherub,” an “angelic majesty,” and an “authority.” In the New Testament we find that both the apostle Peter and Jude, the brother of our Lord, reproved men in the church for reviling Satan and other angelic majesties.

II Peter 2:10-11
Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble when they revile angelic majesties, whereas angels who are greater in might and power do not bring a reviling judgment against them before the Lord.

Peter is referring to Satan and those angelic beings who are in league with him when he speaks of “angelic majesties.” A thought that needs correcting among Christians today is that Satan and the fallen angels no longer have any legitimate power or authority. Many Christians think it acceptable to revile Satan and other fallen angelic majesties. It is no more appropriate for Christians to do so than it would have been for David to revile King Saul. This is a great error that is as old as Christianity.

Jude 8-10
Yet in the same manner these men, also by dreaming, defile the flesh, and reject authority, and revile angelic majesties. But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, "The Lord rebuke you." But these men revile the things which they do not understand; and the things which they know by instinct, like unreasoning animals, by these things they are destroyed.









I encourage you to pause and carefully consider the argument set forth in the above Scripture. Jude is reproaching men for rejecting “authority” and “angelic majesties.” He then makes it plain who he is referring to by citing an occasion when the archangel Michael contended with “the devil.” If you follow the flow of Jude’s argument, you can plainly see that “the devil” is the “authority” and the “angelic majesty” that is set forth as an example of someone who should not be reviled. If even the archangel Michael did not revile the devil/Satan, recognizing that he is an “angelic majesty” of Yahweh, then the argument follows that men who are inferior in might and power should not revile those beings they do not understand.

A very critical point to understand is that although God pronounced judgment upon King Saul, and declared him to have been rejected as ruler of His people, Saul’s authority did not end at once. Saul maintained his authority as king until the end of his life which was many years later. During this time, Saul continued to act wickedly. He persecuted the righteous servants of Yahweh. It was AFTER Samuel pronounced Yahweh’s judgment upon Saul that this wicked ruler pursued David in the wilderness on multiple occasions and murdered a city of priests. Despite all of this, Saul continued to occupy a position of power and authority as the anointed of Yahweh.

On two separate occasions Yahweh delivered King Saul into David’s hands, resulting in David’s men urging him to strike Saul, killing him, in order to bring an end to the persecution and mistreatment David and his men were experiencing. David’s response in both instances is highly revelatory, and has great bearing on the present status of Satan and the church’s relationship to him.

I Samuel 24:1-12
Now it came about when Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, he was told, saying, “Behold, David is in the wilderness of Engedi.” Then Saul took three thousand chosen men from all Israel, and went to seek David and his men in front of the Rocks of the Wild Goats. And he came to the sheepfolds on the way, where there was a cave; and Saul went in to relieve himself. Now David and his men were sitting in the inner recesses of the cave. And the men of David said to him, “Behold, this is the day of which Yahweh said to you, ‘Behold; I am about to give your enemy into your hand, and you shall do to him as it seems good to you.’” Then David arose and cut off the edge of Saul's robe secretly. And it came about afterward that David's conscience bothered him because he had cut off the edge of Saul's robe, so he said to his men, “Far be it from me because of Yahweh that I should do this thing to my lord, Yahweh’s anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, since he is Yahweh’s anointed.” And David persuaded his men with these words and did not allow them to rise up against Saul. And Saul arose, left the cave, and went on his way. Now afterward David arose and went out of the cave and called after Saul, saying, “My lord the king!” And when Saul looked behind him, David bowed with his face to the ground and prostrated himself. And David said to Saul, “Why do you listen to the words of men, saying, ‘Behold, David seeks to harm you’? Behold, this day your eyes have seen that Yahweh had given you today into my hand in the cave, and some said to kill you, but my eye had pity on you; and I said, ‘I will not stretch out my hand against my lord, for he is Yahweh’s anointed.’ Now, my father, see! Indeed, see the edge of your robe in my hand! For in that I cut off the edge of your robe and did not kill you, know and perceive that there is no evil or rebellion in my hands, and I have not sinned against you, though you are lying in wait for my life to take it. May Yahweh judge between you and me, and may Yahweh avenge me on you; but my hand shall not be against you.”

I Samuel 26:7-11
So David and Abishai came to the people by night, and behold, Saul lay sleeping inside the circle of the camp, with his spear stuck in the ground at his head; and Abner and the people were lying around him. Then Abishai said to David, “Today God has delivered your enemy into your hand; now therefore, please let me strike him with the spear to the ground with one stroke, and I will not strike him the second time.” But David said to Abishai, “Do not destroy him, for who can stretch out his hand against [Yahweh’s] anointed and be without guilt?” David also said, “As Yahweh lives, surely Yahweh will strike him, or his day will come that he dies, or he will go down into battle and perish. Yahweh forbid that I should stretch out my hand against Yahweh’s anointed...”

Even though Saul had turned aside from the path of righteousness and had made himself an adversary of the righteous, David recognized that Saul continued as an anointed servant of Yahweh. David continued to manifest the honor due to one who stood in a position of authority that Yahweh had given to him. David refused to revile one in authority, or to lift his hand against him, even though that authority was acting wickedly.

We observe the parallel truth that Satan has rebelled against Yahweh and has become the adversary of all righteousness. Yahweh has pronounced judgment against him, but that judgment has not yet been fully carried out. Although God has judged the rebellion, self-will, and evil of Satan’s heart, He has not withdrawn the authority and anointing that Satan bears. The day will come when Satan will fall in battle. An hour will arrive when Yahweh will strike him, but until that time he remains the anointed cherub, an angelic majesty. Even as Saul continued to reign, and his actions were evil resulting in condemnation, Satan continues to rule in wickedness heaping up condemnation upon himself.

People of God, I would have you to understand that Yahweh has allotted to Satan a period of time to fill up the fulness of his iniquity before final judgment is carried out against him. We see this also in the life of King Saul. Yahweh could have at once taken the life of Saul when the prophet Samuel pronounced God’s judgment upon this king. Yet, he did not do so. It was appointed to David to bear up patiently for many years under the persecution, slander, and malevolent jealousy of this wicked king. Through this experience David learned many qualities of humility, patience, and faithfulness that enabled him to bear ruling authority and to exercise justice and righteousness as a man after God’s own heart. Undoubtedly, Yahweh has similar purposes in allowing Satan and the angelic hosts in league with him to continue in their power and authority. The saints in Christ bear the brunt of Satan’s wrath, his slanders, and his malevolent will, yet through it all they are given opportunity to acquit themselves faithfully as did David, that the day might arrive when Yahweh will elevate them to the throne.

The apostle Paul describes Satan as “the god of this world,” and “the prince of the power of the air.” These titles reveal that Satan still maintains authority as a world ruler.

II Corinthians 4:3-4
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving.

Ephesians 2:1-2
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air...

It must be understood that when a person, being, or group are granted an anointing and authority by Yahweh, even if they should prove unfaithful in the calling bequeathed to them, Yahweh does not immediately revoke their calling or power. Not only do we see this in the life of King Saul, it is also observed in the calling and anointing Yahweh placed upon the Jewish people. The Jewish leaders proved unfaithful. They failed to fulfill their calling as priests to the nations. Out of jealousy, they opposed the Son of God when He appeared. Afterward they waged a cruel war against Christ’s disciples. Wherever the Jewish leaders had power and authority they would persecute the church of Christ. They confiscated the possessions of some. They imprisoned others. They murdered many. Yet of these adversaries of Christ the apostle Paul declares:

Romans 11:28-29
From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God's choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

Saul continued in his calling as king until Yahweh executed His judgment. Satan will also continue in his power and authority until Yahweh carries out His sentence against him. There are passages of Scripture that reveal that Satan and his angels continue to fulfill a role as judges of the inhabitants of the earth, though they are acting wickedly in the fulfillment of their duties. One of the most insightful passages that discloses this role is found in Psalms 82. This psalm is written as a reproach to the angelic rulers of this world who act corruptly.

Psalms 82
God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods (elohim) he holds judgment: “How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked?” Selah
“Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
They have neither knowledge nor understanding, they walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken. I said, “You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you; nevertheless, like men you shall die, and fall like any prince.” Arise, O God, judge the earth; for you shall inherit all the nations!
[English Standard Version]

Although I previously thought a portion of the above psalm was speaking exclusively of mankind, as Yahweh has instructed me and I have understood the context of this psalm, I have realized that what is written is equally true of angelic majesties who serve as judges and rulers of the earth. These angelic beings comprise a “divine council” in the heavens. Like King Saul, these elohim are charged with the rule of men, yet like that same king they are proving unfaithful in carrying forth their duties. Therefore, Yahweh is remonstrating with them. He pronounces the fate that awaits them.

Angels were created as immortal beings. Death is not a natural part of their experience. The angels that were first created at the word of Yahshua ages ago, that were present when the foundations of the earth were laid, continue to this day. Yet God has declared that the unfaithful among these princes shall die like men. Death is not a normal experience for an angel. None of them were born with mortal and corruptible bodies. Because angels do not procreate with one another, they cannot pass along sin and death to other angels. The angels do not experience the physical death that is the portion of all the descendants of Adam, but those who have rebelled against God will experience the “second death” which is the lake of fire.

Matthew 25:41
“Then He will also say to those on His left, “Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the age-during fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels...’”

Revelation 20:10
And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night to the age of the ages.















When the psalmist writes that “I said, ‘You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you; nevertheless, like men you shall die, and fall like any prince...’” he is prophesying of the judgment that awaits the fallen angels. When we perceive that the fallen angels are continuing to bear the responsibility for the rule of this world, and continue as ministers of God, a number of perplexing Scriptural passages are rendered sensible. Following is one example of the fallen angels appearing among the divine council of God in the heavens.

I Kings 22:19-23
And Micaiah said, “Therefore, hear the word of Yahweh. I saw Yahweh sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by Him on His right and on His left. And Yahweh said, 'Who will entice Ahab to go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?' And one said this while another said that. Then a spirit came forward and stood before Yahweh and said, 'I will entice him.' And Yahweh said to him, 'How?' And he said, 'I will go out and be a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.' Then He said, 'You are to entice him and also prevail. Go and do so.' Now therefore, behold, Yahweh has put a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; and Yawheh has proclaimed disaster against you.”

Here is one of the fallen angels, a member of “the host of heaven,” who is continuing in his calling as a member of the divine council. This is a “lying spirit”which identifies him with Satan who is the father of lies. Does it seem incredible that such an one should be used by Yahweh to carry out His will? Do we not read in the Bible of wicked kings that Yahweh uses to carry forth His will? Did not Yahweh use Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, to execute His fierce anger against Judah and Jerusalem?

This fact touches on a troubling aspect of Paul’s writing to the church in Rome. In the following passage the apostle speaks of Yahweh using human rulers of the nations to carry forth His will. Yet, we know that these rulers are rarely Christian, and are quite often marred by deep issues of unrighteousness.

Romans 13:1-7
Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil. Wherefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience' sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.

Paul wrote these words to Christians in Rome during the time of the Roman Empire. The Caesars were the supreme rulers of the Empire, and they were renowned for their sinful failings. Nevertheless, the apostle declares that these world rulers serve as ministers of God. So too do we understand that Satan and his angels will continue as ministers of God until Yahweh’s judgment is carried out upon them.

Yahweh does use unfaithful rulers to carry out His will. At present America is in a great state of moral decline. Her President is promoting homosexuality, the murder of the unborn, and many grievous and deceptive policies. Yet the government still continues to prosecute murderers, rapists, thieves, swindlers, child abusers, and many other wicked people. The government is not faithful in upholding God’s righteousness, for it does so with great inequity. Nevertheless, it still bears the sword of the Lord. The same can be said of Satan and his angels.

Is it not inexplicable to those who do not understand these things that the apostle Paul could look to Satan to carry out discipline against members of the body of Christ who were committing grievous sin in an unrepentant manner?

I Corinthians 5:5
I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Yahshua.

Do not these words reveal that Satan continues to be used as a servant of God? It may be fairly said that Satan even serves to save the lives of some from utter destruction. Is this not what Paul is conveying in the passage above? The apostle is turning an unrepentant Christian over to Satan for chastisement with the ultimate goal in mind that the spirit of the man might be saved in the day of judgment. Satan, in this association, becomes an instrument in the hands of God to prevent a believer from suffering complete loss.

In what is to many an equally perplexing Scripture, the apostle speaks of turning two men over to Satan that they might be taught not to blaspheme.

I Timothy 1:20
Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have delivered over to Satan, so that they may be taught not to blaspheme.

Will Satan the blasphemer be used to teach others not to blaspheme? Indeed, Yahweh can, and will, use him in this manner. This does not imply that Satan is a righteous minister. King Saul, after becoming puffed up with pride, was not a righteous ruler. Nevertheless, Yahweh used Saul to carry out His will. The apostle Paul furthermore speaks of God using an “angel of Satan” to prevent him from becoming unduly exalted in his mind and falling into pride.

II Corinthians 12:7-9
And because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, an angel/messenger (Greek - angelos) of Satan to buffet me - to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I entreated the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness."

What does this declaration of the apostle reveal? It reveals that Yahweh continues to use Satan’s angels to carry forth His will, a will that ever seeks the welfare of His people. God even gives Satan and his angels assignments that safeguard His people from spiritual loss.

I think that the prevailing thought in the minds of most Christians today is that there has been an irreconcilable break between Yahweh and those angelic hosts that have fallen. In the minds of some, there is no longer any interchange or communication between God and Satan and his angels. This is NOT what the Bible reveals, however. The fallen angels have continued to fulfill roles of authority and power in the same way that King Saul continued to be the anointed King of Israel after God had pronounced judgment upon him. The prophet Micaiah revealed that lying spirits assemble before Yahweh in His divine councils, even as do the holy angels. So too do we read in the book of Job of Satan appearing before Yahweh when the sons of God (bene ha elohim) came to present themselves before Him.

Job 1:6-12
Now there was a day when the sons of God (bene ha elohim) came to present themselves before Yahweh, and Satan also came among them. And Yahweh said to Satan, "From where do you come?" Then Satan answered Yahweh and said, "From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it." And Yahweh said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil." Then Satan answered Yahweh, "Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face." Then Yahweh said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him." So Satan departed from the presence of Yahweh.

Here we see Satan in the role of the ruler and god of this world. We are not told how often that Satan appears before Yahweh in the heavens, but it is apparent that he continues to have access there. This is not unlike King Saul continuing to have access to the Tabernacle of God, and the ability to inquire of Yahweh’s prophets. It was only at the very end of Saul’s life that God refused to answer the King of Israel. This is why Saul sought out a medium to summon forth the prophet Samuel from the grave. Yahweh is patient, bearing long with His anointed servants who have turned to wickedness.























Job’sTrials

In the book of Job we see that Yahweh allows Satan to voice his complaint. Yahweh grants to Satan the authority to test his claim that Job honors God only because Yahweh protects and prospers him. At the same time, Yahweh always has in mind the welfare of his righteous servant. Although Job suffered greatly, his suffering was temporal and resulted in no spiritual loss. On the contrary, Job learned much about Yahweh, and of humility, through the things he suffered. Job was like a fruitful vine that Yahweh allowed to be pruned back severely that it might bring forth more abundantly.

For many years I was troubled by a certain passage from the Gospels. Not having been taught correctly about the continued authority of the fallen members of the host of heaven, I could not make sense of a particular statement of Christ.

John 19:10-11
Pilate therefore said to Him, “You do not speak to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release You, and I have authority to crucify You?” Yahshua answered, “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me up to you has the greater sin.”

In my Baptist upbringing, the only being I was aware of who had authority in the heavens was God. I could not conceive of Christ charging God with sin. This left me with the unresolved questions, “To whom was Christ referring when He spoke of Pilate being granted authority from above? Who was it that had the greater sin?” The answer is now readily apparent to me. Satan continues to bear authority as the ruler of this world. His rule is in the heavens. He granted authority to Pilate to condemn the Son of God to death. He goaded the Jews into crying out “Crucify Him!” It was Satan to whom Christ said the greater guilt belonged.

Satan and other fallen members of the heavenly host are still entrusted with ruling authority. Like King Saul, they are abusing this ruling authority. Even as Saul jealousy sought the life of David, so too did Satan jealousy seek the life of Yahshua, the Son of David.

In the book of Revelation we read of an hour approaching when Satan and his angels will be cast out of heaven and no longer have access there.

Revelation 12:7-12
And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. And the dragon and his angels waged war, and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives 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 before our God day and night. And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even to death. For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time."

Yahweh has not yet withdrawn the authority of the hosts of heaven who deal wickedly anymore than He has withdrawn the authority of sinful men who rule unjustly. Yet, the hour will arrive when He will judge both the angels above and mankind below.

Isaiah 24:21
So it will happen in that day, that Yahweh will punish the host of heaven, on high, and the kings of the earth, on earth.

“That day” is near at hand, but it has not yet appeared. It will be cause for rejoicing when these wicked gods (elohim), these rebellious sons of God (bene ha elohim), these principalities, powers, and spiritual forces of wickedness in high places, meet the just penalty for their sins. The atmosphere of the entire planet will change at once. It will then be known what a powerful, and wicked influence these fallen members of the heavenly host exerted upon this terrestrial sphere.

At present the church of Christ is much like David as he was being pursued by the armies of Saul. David stated the following to King Saul who was dogging his steps in the wilderness.

I Samuel 26:19-20
"Now therefore, please let my lord the king listen to the words of his servant. If Yahweh has stirred you up against me, let Him accept an offering; but if it is men, cursed are they before Yahweh, for they have driven me out today that I should have no attachment with the inheritance of Yahweh, saying, 'Go, serve other gods.' Now then, do not let my blood fall to the ground away from the presence of Yahweh; for the king of Israel has come out to search for a single flea, just as one hunts a partridge in the mountains."

















Partridge in the Wilderness

Do you at times feel like a partridge that is mercilessly hunted, driven into wilderness places? Have you been driven away from home and hearth and kin? Do you find that even those who claim to be servants of God hold you in reproach and derision? Does your life appear as insignificant as that of a flea? Has Satan pursued you without cause, seeking your hurt? Then take comfort in this: Even as Yahweh preserved David’s life in many years of wilderness wanderings, so too will He preserve the lives of those who commit themselves to walking with Him in righteousness. Yahweh’s eyes are always upon His suffering servants. He sustains them, and permits the adversary to do no more than that which will result in their good in the end.

The hour will come when Satan will meet his doom, even as King Saul fell on Mount Gilboa. Then the faithful servants of Yahweh will be exalted. The proud and mighty will be abased, and the humble of the earth will be exalted. What a glorious day that will be. There is wisdom in all of Yahweh’s ways.

I will close this post by repeating a verse I cited at the beginning of this chapter.

I Corinthians 2:6-8
Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God's wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom, which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory...

“The rulers of this age” is a reference to both the human and angelic rulers. Did not Christ tell the Roman governor Pilate that Satan had the greater guilt for crucifying Him? These fallen angelic rulers are certainly included among those whom the apostle declared to be “passing away.” Their days are numbered. Their time is short. The lake of fire awaits them.

Let us not err in believing as some do that the fallen angels, and Satan himself, do not continue to this hour as rulers that bear an anointing from God. Though they abuse the anointing, and prove unfaithful in the governance allotted to them, they do rule nonetheless. At the appointed time Yahweh will execute His judgment upon all rule and authority. Those who have embraced evil will pass away, and new righteous rulers will arise in their place.

As you look at the daily news and see wicked rulers filling the world with lies, abominations, and rebellious plans; as they speak proud and slanderous words against the holy God of heaven, take comfort in knowing that their time is passing. The hour is approaching when the kingdom of this world will become the kingdom of our Lord and Christ.

In this chapter I have not been able to address the initial fall of Lucifer, “the anointed cherub.” There are other additional questions to answer and issues to be addressed that pertain to the fallen angels. This subject will be continued in the next chapter.


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Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
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7 comments:

Mark T. said...

Dear Bro. Herrin, is Lucifer not also just a title?
In one paragraph you state that Satan was able to regain dominion over the Earth, by this do you mean to imply he lost it once before? Or was the Earth set aside by God as a place not influenced by Satan? So many questions, can't wait for the next chapter...

Joseph Herrin said...

Hello Mark,

Thank you for your expression of interest in this subject. Undoubtedly there are many questions readers have that were not answered in this chapter of this series of writings. I encourage you to continue to read the series as it is posted.

Although I am interested in knowing what specific questions readers have, it would be counter-productive to spend my time trying to answer each query in a comment field, or in a personal e-mail when I can reach so many more people by continuing to teach on this subject through blog posts that reach a great many more individuals.

I appreciate your understanding in this matter, and if at the end of this series there are questions left unanswered that are weighing upon your mind, please do not hesitate to contact me via e-mail to let me know about them.

May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days,

Joseph Herrin

Aaron Chan said...

Well done Joseph on writing about the places of authority held by the angels and governments, I think it is important that christians should realise that there are authorities that should be respected and acknowledge even if they are unrighteous.
As the government has authority over a country's citizens, they should obey the government unless the government tells them to go against God's commandments.
The citizens should not rise up to overthrow the authorities if they are abusing their positions of authority because as long as they are given that position, they have the legal right to keep it. Rebellion is a trait of lawlessness, and the rejection of submission to lesser authorities and rebellion against them on earth becomes a tribute for Satan, the first rebel.
I hear that in Syria, that the government has indeed been oppressive in the time before the civil war. But after the beginning of the civil war, the fruits of rebellion are none other than massive loss and death. Life was tough in Syria in the days before the revolution, but now leaving your home and country behind is a normal decision.
The manipulative media simply says "The government is killing its own people."
What it should say is that "The government, rebels, and religious fighters are killing each other and their own country's people in the crossfire because of the rebellious uprising that started it all."

On the part where the archangel Michael did not slander Satan, I think this can show that slandering (to assail with verbal abuse with intent to destroy) is by itself ungodly, even if it contains truth.

"End Times Watcher" said...

Hello there Joseph!

I think that I remember you saying somewhere in your "The Genesis Gap" blog post back on March 31st that you were going to write a subsequent post about what you think happened in the gap of time between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2.

Are you still planning to write that particular post?

Steve

Joseph Herrin said...

Hello Steve,

I anticipate that being in the next post.

May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days.

truthseeker said...

Hi Joseph.
I think it is not correct to say that the Lord Jesus was referring to Satan when He told Pilate that the one who delivered Him up to judgment had the greater sin. Instead He was referring the envious High Priest and the scribes who had a vested interest in preserving their position in society and who thought that Jesus' doctrine posed an existential risk. These earthly rulers manipulated the crowds against Jesus and were on the other themselves under the manipulations of spiritual rulers in the heavenly places including Satan and his hierarchy, as the apostles and Paul also said in the epistles.
However thanks for the exegesis as it is beneficial for understanding the scriptures in many respects.
Regards.
Bro Edmund Chilaka.

Joseph Herrin said...

Hello Edmund,

I do not object to considering other thoughts on this, or any other matter. However, all things must be tested. It would be unjust for you to expect me to accept your view because YOU have said that this must be the proper interpretation. We all need something more solid, authoritative, and substantial to base our beliefs upon. This is why I always point people back to the Scriptures to establish doctrine.

I am sure there are many who hold the view that you have stated in your comment, for most Christians have no understanding of the ruling authority that is borne by Satan and his angels. Few conceive what it means for Satan to be “the prince of this world,” and for those angels allied with him to be “principalities, and powers, and spiritual forces of wickedness in high places.” Therefore, when considering whom Christ was referring to when He said, "You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me up to you has the greater sin," they are left with only God, or men, as possible options. Since they rule out God being the one Christ was referring to, for obvious reasons, they have only men left as an option. Some possibilities are that Christ was speaking of the High Priest and Jewish leaders, as you have suggested, or He was speaking of Caesar from whom Pilate in his office of a Roman Governor, derived his authority.

We can rule out Caesar, for Pilate did not consult with Caesar to ask whether Christ should be crucified. This leaves only the Jews, but this possibility is proven invalid as well. The most obvious reason that it could not have been the Jewish leaders that Christ was speaking about is that Pilate did NOT receive his authority from the Jews. To suggest that he did is to turn history, affirmed by the Scriptures, on its head. It was the Jews who were under the authority of Rome. The Jews were a conquered people. Therefore, it is inaccurate to say that Pilate received his authority from the High Priest and the Scribes.

Pilate in no measure received his authority from the people he ruled. Rome had garrisons of soldiers stationed throughout Judea. The Jews were a conquered people. They paid taxes to Caesar. They had to submit to Roman Governors, and abide by the laws of the Roman Empire. There is no basis to suggest that Pilate received his authority from the Jews, and it is contrary to the entire context of Christ’s words to suggest that the High Priest and Scribes fit the description of being “above” Pilate and the source of his authority.

Having ruled out man as the subject of Christ’s words, and having ruled out God, we still have Satan and the angelic powers who rule this world as a very viable option. Indeed, they are the only ones who cannot be ruled out as being the subject of Christ’s words.

I Corinthians 2:7-8
We speak God's wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom, which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory...

The rulers of this age are Satan and his angels.