Christian Churches of God
The Angelic Host
(Edition 1.0 20060715-20060715)
The One True God (Eloah) became a Father when He created His spiritual sons. In this paper we will take a brief look at the ranks and functions of the spiritual creation.
Christian Churches of God
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(Copyright ã 2006 Christian Churches of God, Ed. Wade Cox)
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The Angelic Host
The Bible teaches that the One True God is invisible, and no man has ever seen Him or heard His voice at any time (Jn. 1:18; 5:37). God (Eloah) has life in Himself so He did not need to come into existence (Jn. 5:25; 1Tim. 6:16). He always existed and always will exist. At some point God was alone but He decided to produce a family for Himself. See the paper Who is God? (No. CB1).
The first emanation, or what first issued forth from God, was the Holy Spirit. This was the means by which the subsequent creation could be tied to God. From there God generated (or created) the Spiritual Sons and through the Holy Spirit they were united with God and were able to perform according to His will. It was then that God became the Father of Spirits (Heb. 12:9). See the paper What is the Holy Spirit? (No. CB3).
These Sons of the Most High God are all Elohim or gods (from Psa. 82:1) in varying degrees. They were created perfect, and as long as they remained obedient to Eloah they would live forever as spiritual sons of God.
Who or what are Angels?
Angels are messengers of God who carry out His work. The spiritual sons of God were not called angels until after the creation of Adam. Until the time that someone existed to receive a message, there was no need of a messenger.
Angels are spirit beings (Heb. 1:14). God created His spiritual sons before He created the earth (Job 38:4-7). There are possibly over 100 million angels (see Dan. 7:9-10; Mat. 26:53; Lk. 2:13; Heb. 12:22; Rev. 5:11). Angels are individuals who have freedom of choice, which is required for the development of character.
The Hebrew term for messenger in the Old Testament is mal'ak and is translated as angel in our English Bibles. The term is used to refer to spiritual messengers sent by God (Gen. 32:1-2) and was also used to refer to human messengers sent by Jacob (Gen.32:3).
In the New Testament, the Greek word for messenger is aggelos, from which we get the English word angel. This word is also used of both humans and spiritual messengers.
God sent various types of messengers. Firstly, there were prophetic human messengers (2Chro. 36:15-16). Secondly, there were also spiritual messengers sent to humans with a particular message or function.
As agents of God they are sent to earth to carry out God’s decisions on matters of punishment and correction of humans (Ex. 12:23; Ps. 104:4; 2Sam. 24:16; 2Kgs. 19:35; 1Chro. 21:16; Acts 12:23; Heb. 11:28; 1Cor. 10:10).
Angels also carry messages to God’s prophets and protect God’s people (Ps. 34:7; 91:11; Dan. 6:22; Mat. 18:10; Heb. 1:14). When angels appeared to mankind it was always in human form (Gen. 18:2; 19:1, 10; Lk. 24:4; Acts 1:10).
The spiritual sons of God are also spoken of as being in different ranks and power (Zech. 1:9, 11; Dan. 10:13; 12:1; Eph. 1:21; Col. 1:16; 1Thes. 4:16; Jude 1:9). They are "powerful" (2Thes. 1:7); called "mighty ones" (Ps. 103:20); "holy" (Lk. 9:26); "elect" (1Tim. 5:21). However, they are not to be worshipped (Col. 2:18; Rev. 19:10).
Some angels have wings and some are portrayed as having multiple faces, including the faces of animals (Ezek. 1:4-14; Isa. 6:1-3). They can change their appearance and can look like regular humans when they appear to men (Heb. 13:2). Many times they have a brightness around them and wear bright white clothes (Acts 1:9-11; 22:6-9; 2Sam. 22:13).
Human beings are not allowed to see God so angels help humans to understand the One True God, Eloah.
The Angel in the Old Testament
The most important messenger sent by God is the one called the "Angel of the Lord" and the "Angel of God" in our English Bibles. These titles refer to the special angel (or messenger) who carried the authority of God and represented God. He was frequently called Yahovah.
The people of the Old Testament knew that this messenger from God was not really the One True God. They knew that God (Eloah) revealed Himself to them through His Angel whom they also termed Elohim. When the Angel of Yahovah was present with them, it meant that God (Eloah) was present. The Angel spoke and acted for the One True God.
The Angel of Yahovah who most frequently dealt with humans was Israel's god (i.e. Elohim). He represented Eloah, the One True God that Israel worshipped. He was the being that later became the man Jesus Christ. See the paper Who is Jesus? (No. CB2).
Let’s look at some of the many instances where this angel appeared and spoke to humans in ancient times.
The angel spoke to Hagar on two occasions (Gen. 16:7-13; 21:17-18).
The angel spoke to Abraham (Gen.12:1-3,7; 22:11-18).
The angel spoke to Jacob in dreams (Gen. 28:11-17 and 31:11-13; see also Gen. 32:24-30).
The angel appeared and spoke to Moses (Ex. 3:1-6; 24:12-16).
The angel in the cloud (Ex 13:21; 14:24).
The Bible says it was the Angel of Yahovah who did these things (Acts 7:30-38; Gal. 3:19).
The apostle Paul said that it was Christ who led Israel through the Sea (1Cor. 10:1-4). Paul also identifies the Angel of God as Jesus Christ in Galatians 4:14. See the paper The Angel of YHVH (No. 24).
Further instances of the angel appearing to humans:
Balaam and the angel (Num. 22:21-35).
Joshua and the angel (Jos. 5:13-15).
Gideon and the angel (Jdg. 6:12-24).
The parents of Samson and the angel (Jdg. 13:2-20).
Elijah and the angel (1Kgs. 19:5-12 and 2Kgs. 1:15).
Daniel and the angel (Dan. 3:24-25, 28).
Zechariah and the angel (Zec. 1:9, 13-14, 18-21; 2:3; 4:1,4-5; 5:5,10).
Angels in the New Testament
We also see the angels attending to Jesus while he was on earth (Mat. 4:11; Lk. 22:43). An angel appeared to Joseph and announced the birth of Jesus (Mat. 1:20; Lk. 1:26-38); angels were there when Jesus was resurrected (Mat. 28:2-7; Jn. 20:10-14) and spoke of his ascension (Acts 1:9-11). Angels are ministering spirits to the people of God (Mat. 18:10; Acts 5:19-20; 8:26; 10:3; 12:7-10; 27:23; Heb. 1:14). They rejoice when a sinner repents (Lk. 15:10).
In the New Testament, Christ as a human being still acted as the revealer of God’s will and perfectly reflected God’s nature and character. As the mediator between God and man, to see Jesus was to see God and to hear him was to hear God (Eloah). The words he spoke were not his own, but God's (Jn. 14:8-10).
Different Ranks of the Angelic Host
Within the category of angels there are many different kinds, with different functions and powers (Zec. 1:7-11; Dan. 10:13; 12:1; Eph. 1:22; Col. 1:16; 1Thes. 4:16; Jude 1:9).
Thrones, Dominions, Powers, Principalities
We know that Christ was the firstbegotten of the creation and while he did not create the other sons of God he did create (i.e. organise) the thrones, dominions, principalities, authorities. These are administrations and not the names of spiritual beings. In Christ all things hold together (Col. 1:16-17).
The Seraphim have six wings (see Isa. 6:2,6). They had the power to take away the guilt of sin to prepare the prophets (Isa. 6:7). The six wings perhaps indicate they are of high rank and have many different functions to perform.
The word Seraphim is the plural of word sârâph (SHD 8314) meaning burning one. Because the serpents in Numbers 21:6,8 were burning in the poison of their bite, they were called Seraphim. So we have the concept of these Seraphim being the "fiery serpents of the heavens" (compare also Deut. 8:15; Isa. 14:29; 30:6). God sent them to inflict punishment on people for sin. Their form appears to be somewhat human in that they have faces, hands and feet in addition to their wings. They are represented as "standing" above the King as he sat upon his throne, ready to minister to him.
These beings are the archangels and have important positions in the heavenly Host. It is the archangels who are most often sent to earth to deliver God’s messages and warnings to mankind and to the prophets.
The Book of Enoch names six archangels: Michael (the one in charge of the best part of mankind), Gabriel (is in charge of the serpents, the Garden and the Cherubim), Uriel (is the angel over the world and Tartarus) and Raphael (is the angel of the spirits of men), Raguel (who takes vengeance on the world and the lights) and Saraqael (is set over the spirits of the children of men, whose spirits have sinned) (The Book of Enoch, Chapter XX, R.H. Charles, 2002).
These angels are also called Watchers.
The archangel Gabriel:
Interpreted Daniel’s visions (Dan. 8:16-26; 9:20-27).
Announced the birth of John the Baptist (Lk. 1:11-20)
Announced the birth Jesus (Lk. 1:26-38).
The archangel Michael:
Michael, the great prince, is mentioned a number of times in the OT.
In Daniel 10:13 he is called "one of the chief princes who came to help me". See also Daniel 12:1.
Jude 1:9: The archangel Michael disputed with the devil about the body of Moses.
Revelation 12:7-8: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought back.
These Seraphim are identified as the Cherubim surrounding the Throne of God as we now see.
The Throne of God is surrounded by four beasts with different heads. These are of a lion, a bull, and eagle and a man. They are referred to as Cherubim (singular "Cherub"). They are four in number and they have six wings when they are surrounding the Throne of God (Rev. 4:6-9). A description of Cherubim is given in Ezekiel 1:5-14, Ezekiel 10:20-21, and Revelation 4:6-9. Where they are a composite structure in Ezekiel protecting the subordinate Yahovah of Israel, they are listed as having the four wings on their upper torsos. No mention is made of the two wings on their feet that are associated with the Seraphim that surround the Throne of God (as we saw in Revelation), nor concerning the Seraphim or Burning Ones of the OT. The number four relates to the material creation. When these Cherubim are sent to deal with the physical creation under Yahovah of Israel, and act in concert, they are four-winged and move together in one vehicle always facing the same direction. The Cherubim surrounding the Throne of God are six-winged as Seraphim.
The symbolism of the heads of the creatures surrounding the Throne of God are identified as Cherubim in Ezekiel 1:1-28. See the paper The Meaning of Ezekiel’s Vision (No. 108).
The animal heads refer to the battle standards of Israel and the division of the tribes, from Numbers 10 and 11. See the paper The Creation of the Family of God (No. CB4).
There were originally four Cherubim, two cherubs covering and two cherubs standing behind the Throne of God. Ezekiel 1:4-14 speaks of four, and this is the number of the "living creatures" mentioned in Revelation 4:6.
Cherubim are mentioned in Genesis 3:24, where we read that God drove man out of the Garden of Eden and placed the Cherubim and a flaming sword at the east of the Garden of Eden to keep man from returning and taking from the tree of life.
From 2Samuel 22:11, Psalm 18:10 and Ezekiel chapters 1, 9 and 10 it appears that the Eternal rides on four Cherubim.
We see images of Cherubim being used in the Tabernacle and the Temple. Those on the Ark are called the "Cherubim of Glory" (Heb. 9:5), for on them the visible glory of God rested.
Two Cherubim made of gold and facing each other with outstretched wings were placed on the Ark of the Covenant (Ex. 25:17-20). God (through His angel) promised to speak with Moses "from between the Cherubim" (Ex. 25:22). Images of Cherubim were to be worked into the curtains of the Tabernacle (Ex. 26:1,31).
King Solomon had two Cherubim made of olive wood put in the Temple. Cherubim were also carved into the doors and walls of the Temple, and images of Cherubim were sewn on a veil of linen used in the Temple (1Kgs. 6:23-35; cf. 2Chro. chapter 3).
Even though the Bible tells us not to make an idol in the form of anything in heaven or on earth (Ex. 20:4; Deut. 4:16ff.), the Israelites were instructed to carve pictures of Cherubim into the tabernacle walls. These were decorative and symbolic, and were NOT used for worship. The Tabernacle that Moses built and the Temple that Solomon built were physical representations (or copies) of what is in heaven.
Morning Star, Day Star or Light-bringer are ranks and not names of the spiritual host (Job 38:1-7).
The Morning Stars appear to have duties as Cherubim. The current Morning Star, Azazel or Lucifer, was one of the anointed covering cherubs before he rebelled. This rank and function, which Satan holds as god of this planet, will be taken over by Christ at his second coming (see Rev. 22:16).
Apart from Satan and Christ there are other members of the Host that share this rank and function. See the paper Lucifer: Light Bearer and Morning Star (No. 223). At the creation of the planet the Morning Stars were gathered and sang together and all the Sons of God shouted for joy (Job 38:7).
Did God create a Devil?
God created His sons perfect but they had the freedom to choose to obey or disobey. We know some of them did sin and the Bible refers to them as "fallen angels"(Gen. 6:2,4; Jude 1:6).
Lucifer was a model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty, but he became full of pride and vanity. He was filled with violence and turned to the way of sin (Ezek. 28:12-17). He thought he could do a better job than God and he tried to take over God's Throne and rule the universe (Isa. 14:12-14). His rebellion failed and he was cast back down to earth (Lk. 10:18; cf. also Rev. 12:7-9). Lucifer persuaded a third of the angels to follow him in rebellion. He became known as Satan the devil and the angels who followed him are known as demons. Collectively they are referred to as the "fallen Host". See the paper Who is Satan? (No. CB60).
Some of the fallen angels were locked up in a prison awaiting judgment (1Pet. 3:18-20; 2Pet. 2:4-5; Jude 1:6). Others of the fallen host are still roaming free about the earth (Job 1:6-12; Lk. 8:30-32).
What will happen to Satan and the demons?
Christ qualified to redeem both mankind and the fallen Host. He paid the penalty for all of our sins (Col. 1:19). It is God's will that no flesh should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2Pet. 3:9).
So it seems the demons will be judged at the Second Resurrection of the dead when they assume physical form in the same way as the resurrected humans. They will all have the opportunity to repent and be changed to spiritual sons of God. Read what the Bible says in Isaiah 14:11-17. We see Satan is mentioned as being a man and from the pit in verse 15. We know that Christ, as a former spiritual being, became a man and died a physical death. Therefore, the same must be possible for Satan and the demons. However, there is always a consequence for sin and Satan and the demons will not go without some punishment. For one thing, they will not resume the positions they held before the rebellion.
The destiny of humans
God is spirit and that which is born of Spirit is spirit, so the first phase of God’s creation was of spiritual beings (Jn. 3:6). The first man Adam was also created by God, but from matter, i.e. the dust of the ground, so he was created a physical being. He is also called ‘a son of God’ (Lk. 3:38). Physical beings (mankind) were the second phase of God’s creation.
That which is born of flesh is flesh (Jn. 3:6), and flesh and blood cannot enter the Kingdom of God (1Cor. 15:50). But the destiny of humans is to become ‘sons of God’, i.e. spiritual beings. All who know the One True God and Jesus Christ, the son He sent, and repent and are baptised and receive the gift of God’s Spirit, have the right to become children of God (Jn. 1:12-13; Rom. 8:14-15; 1Jn. 3:1).
Those in the First Resurrection will be changed to spirit beings and will rule as co-heirs with Christ during the thousand years of the Millennium. Those in the Second Resurrection, which is a resurrection of correction and judgment, will also be changed to spirit beings when they qualify to attain that status.
God’s plan for His family will not be complete until after the final judgment and the conversion of the whole planet. All of the planet will then be sons of God as elohim. Through the Holy Spirit we will be one with God as the family of God.
For more information and further study see the papers:
The Government of God (No. 174)
How God Became a Family (No. 187)
The Judgment of the Demons (No. 80)