PART 3 THE INVISIBLE FORCES

Wed, 05/26/2021 - 8:00am

PART 3 THE INVISIBLE FORCES

7

ARE ALL OF THE FORCES OF EVIL CALLED ANGELS?

The Devil is a cherub who is the leader of a vast number of forces that have rank and varied geographical areas of responsibilities, whether on the earth or in the atmosphere.

Ephesians 3:10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

Likewise, God has forces that are described using the same words principalities and powers but without reference to the word rulers. Some commentators contend that the word principalities refer to both good angels that live in heavenly places and evil angels that live in the lower sense of heavenly places i.e., in the lower atmosphere, the air who are made known by the church (the assembly of believers) the manifold wisdom of God (God’s wisdom as seen in His new creation, the church).

1 Corinthians 15:24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.

Other commentators suggest that evil angels have no interest in God’s manifold wisdom but only in His power.

Whatever is the case, this begs the question. Are all of the forces of evil, and we might as well add, forces of godliness called angels?

Revelation 12:7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,

This verse unveils to us the name of a spiritual creature who is the leader of the angels of godliness. He is distinctly called Michael. Likewise, the name of the leader of the angels of evil is called dragon (synonymous with Devil or Satan). It appears that the powers and the rulers of the darkness of this world are angels. But what about the principalities, those who are of the first rank, are they also called angels?

Please go to the book of Jude.

                                                            

Suggested Reading: Jude 1-21

4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.  

Jude is writing a general letter to his fellow believers. As concerning their common salvation (the gift of new life they have received), he urges them to defend, fight, and actively promote the faith (the main tenet of Christian teachings). Apparently, there were certain men (false teachers), who gained admission into the faith under false pretenses. They are called ungodly (in their thinking and living) that are turning (changing) the grace (forgiveness and power to overcome sin12) of God into lasciviousness (satisfying their own lusts; an immoral perversion of spiritual privilege), thus promoting their sinful lifestyle and leading others to take an impure and profane liberty in sinning.13 Thus, they were denying (rejected being owned by) Christ and having to submit to His rule.

After this declaration, Jude gave different examples pertaining to groups of people, individuals, angels, and even the Devil that chose to live in the same manner as these ungodly men and who like them will receive recompense (divine retribution-punishment) for their transgressions.

9 Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.

One of these examples that we will look at here concerns the story of Michael the archangel which we were told disputed with the devil concerning the body of Moses. The word archangel signifies that Michael was the chief or leader of the godly angels. This word is found in the singular, which indicates that he was the sole chief of all of God’s angels. This word, however, doesn’t infer that he was the only archangel. This rendering of Michael being an archangel appears to signify that he was and is an angel.

What about the Devil, who was originally the anointed cherub of God? Is he an angel? Is a cherub an angel? He was not referred to as being an archangel as Michael was. There might be one more way to answer these questions but before we do, let’s take a look at why the Devil contended with Michael for the body of Moses.

This story is not found in the Old or New Testament Scriptures but in the writings known as “The Assumption of Moses”, which many believe were written in the first century AD. It alleges that Michael was given the task of burying the body of Moses by God after he died, but the Devil intervened, claiming that he had power over this body, and because of such, he could do with it as he pleased. Why the Devil would want his body is, to say at the very least, quite confusing. I don’t recollect there being contention for anyone else’s dead body in the Scriptures.

Apparently, Michael refused to give him jurisdiction over Moses’ dead body. The Devil tried to use a reason as to why Moses’ body was his, which was because in his younger days, he had murdered an Egyptian. Michael did not respond to this charge by rebuking him but left this matter in the hands of the Lord by saying, the Lord rebuke thee.  This story concludes with Michael being the one who buried Moses’ body.

Getting back to the Devil as to whether he is an angel, believe it or not, there is another heavenly creature that we haven’t mentioned that might help shed some light as to whether he is an angel or not.

Let’s go to the book of Isaiah.

         

Suggested Reading: Isaiah 6:1-13

1 In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.

2a Above it stood the seraphims:

Isaiah, the prophet, received a vision from God, who was pictured as sitting on a throne. Above the throne, he saw many other heavenly creatures whose description is different from those who we have already looked at. These are called seraphims. As he observed them worshipping God, he had a sense of his own unfitness to join in.14      

7 And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.                                                                         

Then one of the seraphims took a hot stone and caused it to touch his mouth; and as a result all iniquity (implying conscious unworthiness of acting as God's messenger15) was removed, and his sin purged (forgiven, in relation to the altar sacrifices). After which, he heard the Lord say, whom shall I send to go and speak to the Southern Kingdom of Judah because of their sin, rebellion, and worship of false gods are under approaching judgment? Isaiah replied, here am I, send me.

2b … each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.

One of the physical characteristics of these supernatural beings was that of having six wings.

Revelation 4:6-9 And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever,

Even though their name is not mentioned in these passages of Scripture from the book of Revelation, these creatures are described as being four beasts, each of which had six wings. I think that we can safely assume that these heavenly beings are seraphims. They are in the midst of and round about the throne of God. They are similar to the other godly creatures that we looked at in a previous chapter known as cherubims in that they had four faces; one of a lion, one of a calf, one of man, and one of a flying eagle.

Now we know that there are at least three heavenly creatures: the cherubims, the seraphims, and angels.

Can we deduce that all of these creatures are angels, each of a different rank and purpose?

And if this the case, then the Devil, a cherub, would be considered as being an angel. Well, we’re getting closer to drawing a conclusion. We have one more creature to look at as to their physical features, and that being, of an angel.

 

8

WHAT DO ANGELS LOOK LIKE?

Let’s begin by taking a look at a story in which a man named Lot was visited by two godly angels. This is one of the best stories in which the physical characteristics, supernatural abilities, and the divine purpose of godly angels are clearly delineated. Even though the purposes of the evil forces of Satan and the godly forces of Michael are different, we can deduce that their physical characteristics and supernatural abilities are similar.

                                           

Suggested Reading: Genesis 19:1-29

1 And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground;

3 And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat.

Two angels came to the gate of the city Sodom. Lot offered them food and shelter at his house for the night. While there, they eventually told him of their purpose, and that was that they were sent by God to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because of their wickedness. By the way, in Hebrew, the word angels mean messengers.

4-5 But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.

All of a sudden, Lot heard the voices of people from the outside of his house. These voices were from the men of the city, both young and old, that have surrounded his dwelling, demanding that he send these two men to them so that they may know them (rape them, thus engaging in homosexual relations).

11 And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door.

Lot decided to step outside of his dwelling and tries to appease them. What he has in mind is a plan to exchange what the people demand with instead offerings his two daughters in their place. However, the mob was not satisfied with his response. They, in anger, attempted to inflict harm on him, but he was brought back into his house by the two men (the two angels). But the crowd didn’t stop there. They decided to try to break down the door of the house in order to forcibly bring the two men out. What these two angels did next, I’m sure, was a sign to both Lot and the people that they were not ordinary humans. The angels smote the ungodly men with blindness (confused or bewildered vision; temporary loss of sight) so that they couldn’t find the door.

12-13 And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place: For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the Lord; and the Lord hath sent us to destroy it.

24 Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven;

Lot was instructed by the angels to gather together any relatives and friends because in the morning, they were going to have to leave the premises as these cities would soon be destroyed by fire and brimstone from the Lord. On the following morning, the angels lead Lot and his family outside of the city, encouraging them to find refuge in the mountains. Lot requested that they allow him to go to a little city called Zoar instead, to which the angels gave the ok. After which fire and brimstone reigned down and destroyed both cities and all the people that remained therein.

What can we surmise about these godly angels in regard to their physical characteristics, supernatural abilities, and divine purpose?

  • They looked like ordinary people, appearing in human form.
  • They didn’t have any wings.
  • They ate regular food.
  • They were able to impede adversarial human beings with supernatural ability.
  • They conveyed to Lot why they were there, in other words, what their divine mission was, which was to destroy the cities of the plain.
  • They were able to destroy the cities of the plain with supernatural direction and empowerment from God.

We can deduce that this heavenly creature doesn’t resemble the cherubims or seraphims in any physical way. Do you agree?

There are two different conclusions that can be made as to the spiritual forces of wickedness and the spiritual forces of godliness. Either all of them are angels, each with different physical characteristics and purposes due to rank, or all of them are not angels.  

Matthew 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

Personally, I believe that all of these heavenly creatures are angels, with some having higher rank and different responsibilities. Why do I believe this to be the case? We were told in an earlier chapter that after the Devil fell, he coerced other supernatural beings called angels to join him. If the seraphims and cherubims are not angels, then we could assume that some of them, like the Devil himself, a cherub, would have rebelled and, therefore, would be mentioned along with the angels. Likewise, we are also told that there will come a time in the future when both he, and these same fallen angels will be cast into everlasting fire. No other creatures were mentioned as having fallen according to this rendering.

With that said, what we’re going to look at next has to do with answering the following question. Now that the Devil and his angels have severed ties from God, what is their plan for mankind?

 

Endnotes

12IVP Bible Background Commentary Pc Study Bible version 5, 2005, 10 March 2015 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.

13Calvin's Commentaries Pc Study Bible version 5, 2006, 11 March 2015 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.

14Barnes.

15Jamieson, Faucet, and Brown Commentary Pc Study Bible version 5, 2005, 12 March 2015 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.

 

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