The Doctrine of Angels
The ‘religious’ world is replete with information about Angels. Unfortunately, most of it is misleading or inaccurate according to the Holy Bible. In the great artworks of man across the centuries, Angels are depicted as winged men or women, usually with effeminate facial and body expressions, androgynous by design, with heads encircled in halos. This symbolic, ‘Artistic expression’ reflects latent Scriptural ignorance and the carnal fleshly desires of artisans rather than revelations of spiritual truth.
When a man in a pulpit today proclaims that Satan is a “fallen angel” he pronounces a traditional misnomer. Yes, although the name Lucifer is likened to the light of a very bright star, and although Satan can appear “AS” an Angel of light (1 Corinthians 11:14), Satan is not an Angel, he is a cherub; he is a Beast (Genesis 3:1). Is this difference important? Yes, on multiple levels!
The Bible makes a clear distinction between the class of spiritual beings known as Angels and the class of beings that are identified as Cherubim or Seraphim, although both classes are spiritual types of beings. The differences in nomenclature are critical in understanding these beings’ appointed purpose and functions within Scriptural revelation. Contrary to popular classical depiction, Angels have no wings. Angels are closely akin to men, yet more powerful. There are common Angels and then there are princes (Daniel 10:20) and there is the Archangel (Jude 9). There are holy Angels and there are unholy angels. On the other hand, Cherubim and Seraphim are akin to winged beasts, with varying configurations in the numbers of heads (1, 2 or 4), wings (2, 4 or 6) and other bodily features. The anointed cherub, Lucifer (Isaiah 14:12), elsewhere called Satan, is the ONLY cherubim that rebelled against God. He led an unknown number of Angels in rebellion against God in antiquity. The Devil and his Angels are the antithesis of all that is holy.
Again, Satan is not an Angel and the Cherubim and Seraphim are not Angels, they are Beasts (Revelation 4:7) or Living Creatures (Ezekiel 1:5, 1:13-15 & 3:13). Only through the illumination of the Spirit of Truth and right-division of the infallible written words of God can the full import of these distinctions be appreciated.
The Person and Purpose of the Angels
The beginning of Biblical knowledge about the person of the Angels is found in Job 38:4-11:
"4Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. 5Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? 6Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; 7When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? 8Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb? 9When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddlingband for it, 10And brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors, 11And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed?"
(Job 38:4-11 KJV)
In this passage, the Bible says that the Angels, who themselves are created beings, already existed in eternity-past before God created the heaven and Earth (Genesis 1:1). What is written also reveals two different class-structures of Angels: Specifically, the ‘morning stars’ which are the princely-line of Angels (see Daniel 10:20 & 12:1) and the “sons of God” (Ge 6:2,4; Job 1:6; Job 2:1; Job 38:7). These are sentient spiritual beings with a free-will, capable of linguistic verbal communication and the expression of feelings and emotions. They are all male in gender and are wingless, even though they are capable of flight (Daniel 9:21). When they have appeared to men in history they appeared as men (Judges 13:3, Daniel 9:21). They are capable of reproduction (but not between themselves) and are documented in the Bible to have copulated with the daughters of men (Genesis 6:2-4) and procreated human-like offspring. The ability to do so certifies they possess DNA in a form that is structurally compatible with biological earthly flesh (Genesis 6:2-4 & Daniel 2:43).
Since the Earth was created by God to first be inhabited by the Angels (Isaiah 45:18), and since the Angels sang with ‘joy’ at the prospect of indulging in the anticipated pleasures of a physical habitation upon the face of the created planet, the Scriptures suggests these spiritual being’s man-like-bodily-form has existed from their inception and before the creation of the planet. Angels are like men in both mind and appearance but are a higher spiritual and physical order than man (Psalms 8:5; Hebrews 2:7,9). In the book of Revelation, when one of the seven Angels spoke to John (Revelation 21:9), and after the Angel’s discourse and exposition of the New Jerusalem, John fell down at the Angel’s feet to worship him (Revelation 22:8). The Angel’s response reveals a profound truth:
"Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God."
(Revelation 22:9 KJV)
Specifically, the elect Angels of God consider themselves fellow-servants with saved men and women and consider them as their ‘brethren’ in the Lord. All New Testament references to the “sons of God” speaks exclusively of the saved and born-again man or woman (see: John 1:12; Romans 8:14,19; Philippians 2:15; 1 John 3:1-2), not the Angels, as observed in the Old Testament. This clarifies and provides context to the difference between the New and Old Testament references to the phrase “sons of God” in the King James Bible and confirms our place of adoptive standing within the family of God.
In Psalms 19, the psalmist points to the heavenly firmament and the unspoken language of nature that proclaims wisdom pertaining to the things of God. Most prominent is the great glory of the Lord Jesus Christ seen in the type of the sun. It outshines all other heavenly bodies during the daytime. But in the night, we can see the moon, a type of the Bride, whose only glory is the light she reflects from the sun. And then there are the stars, which are a type of the Angels. They give off their own light. The physical stars in the night sky are innumerable, as are the Angels of God in the heavenly places. The celestial stars are all different in respect to physical size, color and radiant characteristics (1 Corinthians 15:41) and they all have individual names (Psalms 147:4). The same can be said for the Angels, and they have individual personalities, strengths and weaknesses and appointed functions within their service to the Lord God. In that way, they are a lot like their fleshly human counterparts. The purpose of the Angels is to glorify and serve the Lord Jesus Christ. The holy Angels do so faithfully with a willing heart, the evil Angels do so by command and constraint. The habitation of both the holy and evil Angels is the spirit realm around us that extends from the face of the Earth into the heavenly places above us. The holy Angels minister to God and the saved in God (Matthew 4:11, Mark 1:13, Acts 12:4-11), the evil angels minister death and suffering within the creation.
The Evil Precipitated by the ‘Angelic Rebellion’
There is more than a bit of ambiguity in the Bible concerning the fate of the Angels who followed Lucifer in rebellion and sinned against God that fateful day in spiritual antiquity. Where they went, what they did, where they sojourned in the old world and our world in Biblical days, and what they are doing now, is complex and will dominate the remainder of this dissertation.
First, know up front that the term “fallen angels” does not appear anywhere in the Holy Bible. Know also that there is no direct mention in the Bible of any earthly Angelic activity between “…in the beginning…” (Genesis 1:1), across the vast expanse of Earth’s geologic deep-time, and up to the old world’s corruption and eventual demise where it is found “…void, and without form…” (Genesis 1:2). There is most certainly a narrational and chronological silence (or time-gap) between those first two verses in the book of Genesis.
This does not mean the Spirit of Truth is silent on this issue. The Scriptural passages of Job 38:4-11, Isaiah 14:12-16 and Ezekiel 28:13-17, when interpreted through the filter of right-division and the context of sound-doctrine, speaks volumes through the Spirit of Truth. Much spiritual insight can also be extrapolated from Earth’s ‘Natural History’ record of things entombed beneath and within the dirt and rocks. The artifactual findings like the objects of ‘Forbidden Archeology’ and ‘Out-Of-Place-Artifacts’ (OOPArt – i.e. human footprints found in ancient rock, or human-made artwork and objects that predate ‘accepted’ human origins), provide intriguing clues. A definitive documentation of this subject, however, is beyond the immediate scope of this paper.
Earth’s paleontological record reveals the remains of humanoids on the planet before ‘modern man’ (Adam). If Adam was the first ‘man’ and was created in God’s image, whose image were those humanoids (i.e. Homo Sapiens, Homo Erectus, Neanderthals, Cro-Magnon, etc.) fashioned after? Who, or rather what, were those beings that populated the “world that then was” (2 Pet 3:5-7) long before Adam? Were they Angels or were they the biological offspring of Angels?
There is precedent in the Holy Scriptures where, long after the fall of Adam, Angels copulated with the daughters of men and produced biological offspring that were physically superior in strength and stature to normal men (Genesis 6:2-4). Genetically speaking, this confirms the notion that Angels (when they assume a fleshly form), indeed possess DNA, which is defined as “Deoxyribonucleic acid, a thread-like chain of nucleotides carrying the genetic instructions used in the growth, development, functioning and reproduction of all known living organisms and many viruses.” But also, genetically speaking, the notion that in the times of the ‘Old World’ the Angels were the pre-Adamic humanoid races, or even gendered those humanoid races, is a proposed answer that is immediately confronted by an inconvenient Biblical truth: ALL Angels are MALE (there are no female angels in the Bible, in spite of whimsical or wishful appeals to the vision of Zechariah 5:9).
Further complicating this question is the paleontological observation that these races of ancient humanoids consisted of both male and female individuals. If all Angels are male, then who, or rather what, would they have mated with to produce such a race of biological offspring? The only possible answer would be - with a beast of the Earth (Leviticus 18:23). Agreed, this is quite a repugnant thought to contemplate, but the word of God can be base and brutally truthful in some cases (1 Corinthians 1:28-27). Since these historic humanoids were predominately man-like in somatotype, it would be logical to assume that the superior DNA genetic traits of the Angels dominated in the biological development process of procreated offspring, producing a genetic hybrid with human-like form and sentient abilities of thought and reason. That would account for the artifacts of ceremonial expression found with their buried remains and the artistic fashioning of figurines and cave wall paintings associated with their time and places of habitation.
So, in addition to the Angel’s initial sin of rebellion in following Lucifer, in their evil lust for ‘strange flesh’ the Angels also committed the sin of bestiality (Leviticus 18:23). And, considering the observed skeletal differences in early hominid structural characteristics belonging to different ‘species’ and at different geologic times, this was not only a grievous sin, but one obviously committed on more than one single occasion.
This brings us to a crucial point in rightly-dividing the following passage of New Testament Scripture:
"And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire."
(Jude 6-7 KJV)
It is obvious from the Biblical record of activities attributed to ‘evil spirits’, ‘unclean spirits’ and ‘devils’ (in both the New and Old Testament), that not all the “fallen angels” were “reserved in everlasting chains of darkness” mentioned in Jude 6. We know that, at least up until the time of Revelation 12:7, some of the Devil’s Angels can still freely traverse between the world of man and the world of the heavenlies (John 8:23) and continue to sew hatred, wreak havoc, and inflict misery upon mankind because of their evil nature.
No, the ones Jude (above) is speaking of are only the ones that “…kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation…” and those evil Angels are the ones that went after the strange flesh of beasts in the old world (the bestiality) and the strange flesh of human women in our world after the days of Adam. In both cases, those Angels sewed genetic confusion with fleshly creatures of a lower nature. In the historic accounts of the post-flood times, the Biblically documented genetic aberrations of races of giants and people with six fingers and toes (2 Samuel 21:20, 1 Chronicles 20:6) bare record of human gene-pool corruption by those seeds of forbidden copulation.
The Workings of Angels in the World of Man
We know from what is written in the Bible that holy Angels are engaged in oversight involvement concerning the affairs of man (Daniel 4:13-17, Revelation 2:1-18, 3:1-14) and that the unholy Angels are influencing the affairs of nations (Daniel 10:20), and those that are not currently incarcerated for past deeds (Jude 6) or for the Lord’s specific future purposes (Revelation 9:14), are occupied keeping a lid on armies of their evil minions (Revelation 9:11), or doing the Lord’s bidding in His dealing with disobedient men (Psalms 78:49). What is not too clear is the doctrinal relationship between the beings of evil Angels and the beings of “evil spirits”, “unclean spirits”, “lying spirits”, “foul spirits”, “devils”, “deaf and dumb” spirits and such. Every Bible verse concerning the afore mentioned type of “spirits” (check it yourself) provides no, direct, written cross-references that specifically say, verbatim, that these spirits are evil Angels. The context of the verses leaves no doubt about the evil nature of these different types of spirits, but there remains ambiguity.
Prevailing theological paradigms hold to the Church doctrine that, because the Angels are ‘spirits’ (Psalms 104:4, Hebrews 1:7), and because the “fallen angels” are ‘evil’ (Psalms 78:49), then all of the ‘evil spirits’ and ‘devils’ spoken of in the Bible are the ‘Devil’s Angels’ (Matthew 25:41, Revelation 12:9). This is an intuitive assumption based on what we know about Angels and the workings of evil spirits and things called ‘devils’ described in the Holy Bible.
For example, Angels can speak, so who is doing the talking when the ‘Legion’ spoke to Jesus (Mark 5:9, Luke 8:30)? In the former case, Mark 5:8 says it was an ‘unclean spirit’ that had possessed the man and Mark 5:15-16 says the man was possessed by a ‘devil’. In Mark 1:23-27, Jesus was confronted by another ‘unclean spirit’ that spoke. The Apostle Paul was confronted by a girl who was possessed by a ‘spirit of divination’ that could speak (Acts 16:16-18). In Acts 19:13-16 a bunch of unsaved Jews attempted an exorcism against an ‘evil spirit’ that spoke to them, then proceeded to whop the tar out of the bunch. As in both this instance, as in the case of the man possessed with the ‘Legion’, the possessor spirit afforded the possessed man a notable measure of superior strength. We know that Angels can speak and have superior strength to men.
There is a Biblical association between illness and possession by devils (Mark 16:9) and an association of devils with ‘seducing spirits’ and false doctrine (1 Timothy 4:1) and people worshiping devils. There are references to ‘a devil’ causing a man to be dumb and unable to speak (Matthew 9:32) and to another person who was both dumb and blind because of ‘a devil’ (Matthew 9:22). Devils are spiritually evil and can influence things in the physical realm, affecting both the mind and the flesh on the biological level. They utilize the same evil methodology that Satan uses and are thereby directly associated with the workings of Satan. But, concerning references to devils, there is one, single, specific case in the New Testament that cannot possibly be attributed to any Angels:
"Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve."
(John 6:70-71 KJV)
The man, Judas Iscariot was directly declared by the Lord Jesus Christ to be ‘a devil’ (John 6:70-71). The Bible also reveals that Judas Iscariot was actually the biological offspring of Simon Peter (see: John 6:71, 12:4, 13:2 & 13:26). Judas was not possessed by a devil, but he WAS a devil. Even though he was not an Angel, the possibility exists that he could have either been from a biological seed of a “fallen angel” that was injected into the human gene-pool by the “sons of God” (Genesis 6:2-4) or even be a biological seed from the Devil himself who procreated the lineage of Cain (1 John 3:12).
(Note: This particular topic is discussed and documented in greater detail on this page: Who was Judas Iscariot?
The nature and extent of all the different forms and persons of spiritual beings, both evil or holy, cannot be adequately addressed within the confines of a narrow treatment concerning the person of the Angels, who are an exclusive class of spiritual beings. Aside from the Angels (holy or unholy), that are akin to the form of men but superior in nature, the spiritual realm is populated by myriads of beings that the Bible classes as “beasts” or “living creatures” of great majesty and unimaginable forms and office of function. But, from what the Bible and Spirit of Truth also indicates, there are other classes of spiritual entities (spirits) that are unique in person and function beyond what has been revealed to us by the Spirit of Truth and the particulars about these are not exhaustively revealed to us. Perhaps this is just as well.
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Gaines R. Johnson, D.D., D.Th.
The Bible, Genesis & Geology Ministry
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