This chapter contains the following general interest topics, questions, and answers about angels and spirit-beings:
- Angels' Knowledge of God's Plan For Mankind
- Do Angels Work on the Sabbath?
- Do Angels Have A Language?
- Who Are the Elect Angels?
- Are There Female Angels?
- Do Angels Marry in the Heavenly Realm?
- Why Do Angels Praise God?
- Is it Possible for Angels to Sin?
Keep in mind that there are hundreds of topics and questions which could be explored about the spirit-beings who inhabit the heavenly and physical realms, and although many of these questions and their answers are interesting, they are not essential for salvation.
ANGELS' KNOWLEDGE OF GOD'S PLAN FOR MANKIND
Are all angels and spirit-beings privy to everything about the Sovereign God's plan for mankind and their ultimate destiny as a part of his ever-expanding kingdom?
The Day and the Hour
The disciples and Jews were anxiously looking for a messiah to come and return Israel to its former national grandeur. After explaining the events which will take place before his return to establish his heavenly Father's worship system and government on earth and to answer his disciples' question about the timing of his return, Jesus said the following:
"Truly I say to you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. But concerning the day and the hour, no one knows, not the angels, those in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father knows" (Mk.13:30-32 Para.). See also Matt.24:35-36.
The apostles did not give up in their quest to find out when Jesus would return. After his death and resurrection, they continued to question him about when he would return to restore Israel:
"Then, indeed, these coming together they questioned him, saying, Lord, do you restore the kingdom to Israel at this time? And he said to them, It is not yours to know times or seasons, which the Father placed in his own authority" (Acts 1:6-7 KJV Para.).
Before Christ's death and resurrection no one, including Jesus, the angels, the apostles, or the prophets knew when he would return.
In Acts 1:7, Jesus says that it was not for them to know the timing of these events. But, why were the disciples not told? The primary reason for this knowledge being withheld from them seems to be that it was not necessary for them to know when he would return. Because they were not living in the end of the age, this knowledge would not benefit them.
Secrets About Salvation
In the introduction of the apostle Peter's letter to the elect scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, he writes of the precious gift of being called to salvation and the reward which is promised to those who overcome the obstacles of this life. Then, he begins to speak of the secret knowledge and understanding of salvation which was hidden before Christ came in the flesh:
"Of that salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come to you: Searching for the time and circumstances that the spirit of Christ which was in them plainly stated, when it foretold the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. It was not revealed to them, these were serving you in the things they recorded, which are now reported to you by them that have preached the gospel to you by the holy spirit sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into" (1.Pet.1:10-12 Para.).
Although the prophets diligently searched for an understanding into the methodology of salvation that God promised and the sequence of events which would bring about the advent of the Messiah who was to bring this salvation, they were not allowed to know or understand these things. Neither the prophets nor the angels were allowed insight into how and when these things would be accomplished:
A Mystery Kept Secret
In Ephesians 3:1-9, Paul explains that he has been given insight into secrets which the Sovereign God who created all things through Christ had hidden from mankind and about which he had previously written to them. Paul explained that he preached to the general public as a witness and to explain the Sovereign God's plan of salvation:
"To me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world has been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ" (Eph.3:8-9 KJV).
As Paul continues this train of thought in verse 10, he points out that one of the reasons for revealing these mysteries was to give this under- standing to the principalities and powers in heaven:
"To the intent that now through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly realms according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Eph.3:10-11 KJV Para.).
Here, the English word principalities is translated from the Greek word arche, which means chief (in order, time, place, or rank). The English word powers, is translated from the Greek word exousia, which means privilege, i.e., (subjectively) force, capacity, competency, free- dom, (objectively) mastery (concretely) magistrate, superhuman, poten- tate, token of control, or delegated influence.
Because these principalities and powers are in the heavenly realm, we can safely assume that these rulers and authorities serve in some capacity within the governmental system of the Sovereign God's kingdom.
From what is recorded in the New Testament, it is clear that much of the information about the Sovereign God's plan for mankind has been kept secret from many and perhaps all of his angelic messengers and other spirit-beings in his kingdom. Therefore, the logical conclusion is that these spirit-beings are not all knowing and that God has restricted their ability to gain and comprehend certain knowledge. See Chapter 11, "Powers and Principalities" for an explanation of the reasons for keeping certain information about mankind secret.
DO ANGELS WORK ON THE SABBATH?
Most translators of the Masoretic Text have historically translated the Hebrew word shabath in Genesis 2:2-3 as rested. This translation has resulted in a belief that spirit-beings in the spirit realm observe the seventh day of the week as a day of rest. However, the word shabath does not mean to rest; it basically means to repose, i.e., to desist from exertion, which is not necessarily rest. The following is a more accurate trans- lation of these verses:
"Now at last the heavens and earth were successfully completed, with all that they contained. So on the seventh day, having finished his task, God ceased from this work he had been doing, and God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he ceased this work of creation" (Gen.2:1-3 TLB).
The Creator God did not find it necessary to rest on the seventh day. In six days, God finished the work necessary to refurbish the earth and replenish it with the life-forms needed for the plan and purpose for mankind to go forward. Then, he created the seventh day as sacred time, which mankind was to observe for many reasons.
The Sabbath is an identifying sign of those who live in obedience to God's truth (Ex.31:13-17). The Sabbath is a test of an individual's sincerity to live in conformity with God's law (Ex.16:4-36), and proper obedience to God's law concerning the weekly Sabbath brings blessings of which spirit-beings do not partake (Isa.56:1-6; 58:13-14; 66:22-23).
"The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath" (Mk.2: 27 NIV).
The Sabbath rule about caseation from the work which is required to sustain our life does not apply to spirit-beings, because the Sabbath was not made for them. The weekly Sabbath was made for the benefit of physical humans.
Do angels work on the Sabbath? Yes. Angels perform their functions and responsibilities on the Sabbath, because they are not constrained by laws that only pertain to mankind.
The Sovereign Father, Jesus Christ, and their spirit-servants perform work on the Sabbath; however, this work is not in violation of the Sabbath law which prohibits human labor, because the Sabbath law does not apply to them. It only applies to physical beings doing physical work.
DO ANGELS HAVE A LANGUAGE?
Angels do have a language; otherwise, they would not be able to communicate. The scriptures record that angels praise God with words (Lk.2:13-14; Rev.5:11-14).
Logic tells us that all spirit-beings understand and speak the language spoken throughout the Sovereign God's heavenly realm. Additionally, angels must know and understand every human language that has ever existed. The scriptures tell us angels existed before mankind, they are more intelligent than mankind, and a primary function for their existence is to facilitate the Sovereign God's plan and purpose for the creation of mankind; therefore, these spirit-beings would need to understand the languages of mankind in order to know what humans are talking about and to communicate with people when necessary.
The only clear reference to an angelic language (not a human language) in the entire Bible is in the apostle Paul's letter to the elect at Corinth where he speaks about the importance of having a loving attitude and behavior:
"If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but I do not have love, I have become as a sounding brass or a clanging cymbal " (1.Cor.13:1 Para.).
In his second letter to the elect at Corinth, Paul relates a certain man's experience in which he heard things being spoken in the heavenly realm, which some believe refers to a heavenly language:
"I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knows;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knows;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter" (2.Cor. 12:2-4 KJV).
Here, the English word unspeakable is translated from the Greek word arrhetos, which in this context, means inexpressible.
We should be able to deduce that whatever was heard was under- stood by the hearer; otherwise, there would have been no purpose for him to hear it.
The Greek language of verse 4 simply expresses the thought that what this man heard in the heavenly realm was not permitted to be repeated outside of the heavenly realm. Verse 4 is not referring to a heavenly language; it refers to the content of what was heard and understood.
Understanding or speaking the language spoken in the heavenly realm is not necessary for mankind; because, if a spirit-being wants to converse with someone, it can do so in that person's language.
WHO ARE THE ELECT ANGELS?
After giving Timothy many instructions, the apostle Paul mentions the elect angels:
"I charge you before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that you observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality" (1.Tim.5:21 KJV).
The English word elect in verse 21 is translated from the Greek word eklektos, which means select; by implication, favorite. The English word angels is translated from the Greek word aggelos, which means to bring tidings; a messenger; especially an angel by implication, a pastor.
The specific things in which Paul instructs Timothy regarding the congregational membership are more than suggestions; these instruct- ions are to be considered laws, which are witnessed to by God the Father, Jesus Christ, and their spirit-servants. See Matt.16:17-19; 18:15-19.
The elect angels seem to be those spirit-beings who have been selected to interact with mankind in order to facilitate the Sovereign God's plan for mankind. These angels would need to know what Paul has instructed Timothy in order for them to make informed decisions about their interaction with the Father's earthly family of king-priests.
ARE THERE FEMALE ANGELS?
Although the biblical record only describes spirit-beings with a male form and gender, some people believe that they have either seen or communicated with spirit-beings who have a female form and gender. But, do female angels really exist?
The only biblical record that could remotely be misconstrued to support this belief is found in the Book of Zechariah which references women with the wings of a stork as a part of a series of prophecies dealing with the end of the age, just before and after Christ returns.
After being shown things about the prophetic Zerubbabel, the two individuals prophesied to come on the world scene just before Christ returns, and a flying roll containing a curse to be placed on those who are thieves and swear falsely using God's name, Zechariah is shown the following prophetic vision:
"Then the angel that talked with me went forth, and said to me, Now lift up your eyes, and see what this is that goes forth. And I said, What is it? And he said, This is an ephah that goes forth. He said moreover, This is their resemblance through all the earth" (Zech.5: 5-6 KJV Para.).
An ephah is a measure of grain and can be used as a measure in general. In verse 6, the English word resemblance is translated from the Hebrew word ayin, which means an eye (literally or figuratively); by analogy, a fountain (as the eye of the landscape).
From the two words ephah and ayin, the superficial meaning seems to be that something has been measured out and should be easily recognized as it goes throughout the earth. But, what has been measured and who are they that can easily recognize it?
Almost all of the references to an ephah in the Bible deal with the performance of the sacrificial system given to ancient Israel, but only a small number of references deal with crops. It is highly likely this ephah is symbolic of a religious system which has obtained a following throughout the world and has been weighted in God's balances and found to be lacking righteousness. If this is the symbolic meaning of the ephah, then a truly righteous person should be able to recognize this religious system for what it is.
"And, behold, there was lifted up a talent of lead: and this is a woman that sits in the midst of the ephah" (Zech.5:7 KJV).
Lead is a heavy poisonous metal and a woman in negative biblical symbolism is any religious system, which is in direct opposition to the Sovereign God's truth. Notice that the woman is sitting in the midst of the ephah.
"And he said, This is wickedness. And he threw it into the midst of the ephah; and he threw the weight of lead on it" (Zech.5:8 KJV Para.).
God's messenger further explains the meaning of the ephah and the woman by symbolically throwing wickedness into the ephah where the woman sits and then placing the lead on it to cover and contain it. The symbolism seems to indicate a religious system that is not only excep- tionally evil but also extremely burdensome.
"Then I lifted up my eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came two women, and the wind was in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork: and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heaven" (Zech.5:9 KJV Para.).
Here, the English word wind is translated from the Hebrew word ruwach, which is often used in the scriptures to describe the spirit essence of something.
The two women are pictured with wings of a stork, which is an unclean bird (i.e, not fit for human consumption as noted in the dietary laws given to national Israel). These two women with wings like a stork seem to be symbolic of two false religions carrying the ephah with the woman and the wickedness contained in it.
"Then I said to the angel that spoke with me, Where are these taking the ephah? And he said to me, To build it an house in the land of Shinar: and it shall be established, and set there on its base" (Zech.5:10-11 KJV Para.).
If the two winged women are symbolic religions, it follows that what they firmly establish in the land of Shinar is a religious system symbolized by the woman sitting in the midst of the ephah, which is the end product of two false religious systems.
The land of Shinar seems to have been located in Babylon, which is in the nation of Iraq today. According to the biblical record, all of the world's religions that exist in the end of the age have their roots in the Babylonian mystery religions.
An important thing to understand about this prophecy is that it is a vision, not reality. Moreover, nothing in the symbolism of this prophecy indicates that these women represent God's messengers, but everything points to their symbolism being connected with an exceptionally evil and extremely burdensome religion which will proliferate throughout the world from its Babylonian roots. See Rev.17:1-16, 19:1-2.
No female angels or other female spirit-beings are ever mentioned in the Biblical record. The Bible always describes angelic messengers as having a male form, appearance, and gender.
DO ANGELS MARRY IN THE HEAVENLY REALM?
To get the answer to the question of whether or not angels marry in the heavenly realm, we only need to review Luke and Mark's records of Christ's answer to the theoretical question posed to him by the Sadducees about the heavenly marital status of a woman who has had many husbands:
"There were seven brothers: and the first took a wife, and died without children. And the second took her to wife, and he died childless. And the third took her; and in like manner the seven also: and they left no children, and died. Last of all the woman died also. Because seven had her as a wife, whose wife is she in the resur- rection?' (Lk.20:29-33 KJV Para.).
"And Jesus said to them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, do not marry, nor are given in marriage: Nor can they die any more: for they are like the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection" (Lk.20:34-36 Para.).
Notice how Mark relates Jesus' answer to the Sadducees:
"Jesus replied, "Are you not in error because you do not know the scriptures or the power of God? When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven" (Mk.12:24-25 NIV).
Jesus' answer to the Sadducees clearly documents that marriage is only for humans who inhabit the physical realm and it does not occur in the heavenly realm. Moreover, no female angels or other female spirit-beings are ever mentioned as inhabitants of the heavenly realm.
Angels are created beings who do not marry or procreate in the heavenly realm and are always shown as male in form and gender. Likewise, when the Sovereign Father's earthly children are transformed into spirit-beings, they will neither marry nor procreate in the heavenly realm. Moreover, these individuals are always described as sons, not daughters.
WHY DO ANGELS PRAISE GOD?
Throughout the Bible, there are examples of angels and other spirit- beings who are loyal to the Sovereign God praising and worshiping him and the Creator God who became our Savior. But, what have they done to deserve the type of continual adoration, gratitude, service, praise, and worship by these spirit-beings, and why would an angel or any other spirit-being want to voluntarily praise and worship the Sovereign God and his firstborn son, the Savior of mankind?
Before answering these questions, it is important to review some of the biblical texts which show loyal angels and other spirit-beings paying homage to the Sovereign God and his Son.
Angels Acknowledge and Praise God
All of the spirit-beings who are loyal and obedient servants of the Sovereign God acknowledge his greatness, praise him, and give gratitude to him:
"The Lord has prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom rules over all. Bless the Lord, you his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening to the voice of his word. Bless you the Lord, all you his hosts; you ministers of his, that do his pleasure. Bless the Lord, all his works in all places of his dominion: bless the Lord, O my soul" (Psa.103:19-22 KJV Para).
Here, the English word bless is translated from the Hebrew word barak, which means to kneel; by implication, to bless God (as an act of adoration).
King David shows that acknowledging God's great attributes and works should be done by all which he has caused to come into existence. David also says that even the creation itself acknowledges and declares God's magnificence:
"Praise you the Lord. Praise you the Lord from the heavens: praise him in the heights. Praise you him, all his angels: praise you him, all his hosts. Praise you him, sun and moon: praise him, all you stars of light. Praise him, you heavens of heavens, and you waters that be above the heavens. Let them praise the name of the Lord: for he commanded, and they were created" (Psa.148:1-5 KJV Para.).
The English word Praise in Psalm 148 is translated from the Hebrew word halal, which means, in this text, to make a show, to boast; The English word angels, is translated from the Hebrew word malak, which means despatch as a deputy or a messenger. The English word hosts is translated from the Hebrew word tsaba, which means a mass of persons (or figuratively, things), especially as organized for war (an army). This shows that all the spirit-beings who are loyal to God acknowledge his greatness and worship him and everything that exists shows his awesome greatness.
In a vision, the apostle John was at the Sovereign God's throne where Christ sits on a throne at his right hand and hundreds of millions of spirit-beings are in attendance:
"And before the throne there was a sea of glass like to 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 honor and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who lives for ever and ever" (Rev.4:6-9 KJV). See also Rev.5:11-12; 19:5-6; Isa.6: 1-4.
These four spirit-beings are continually acknowledging the holiness of the Lord God Almighty who is the Sovereign of all that is or ever will be.
In Revelation 4:10-11, there are twenty-four elders shown praising and worshiping the Almighty. These elders are described elsewhere in the Book of Revelation as being of his royal family of kings and priests who will reign on the earth with Christ:
"The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that lives for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for you have created all things, and for your pleasure [i.e., purpose] they are and were created" (Rev.4:10-11 KJV). See also Rev.5:11-12; 7:9-17.
The English word worship in verse 10 is translated from the Greek word proskuneo, which means to fawn or crouch to, i.e., (literally or figuratively) prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adore).
In another event before the throne of the Sovereign God and the Savior of mankind, the apostle John sees the four beasts, the twenty-four elders, and an innumerable number of angels and spirit-beings acknow- ledging them with worship and praise:
"And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sits upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshiped him that lives for ever and ever" (Rev.5:11-14 KJV).
There are dozens of scriptures showing spirit-beings acknowledging God's greatness, praising him, and giving gratitude to him. However, nowhere in the biblical record do we see that spirit-beings are forced to serve, praise, and worship the Sovereign God and the Creator God who became Christ. Each is free to choose whether or not to serve them and show their gratitude for the opportunity to live a productive, abundant, and joyful life forever.
Spirit-beings who inhabit the Sovereign God's realm did not come into existence through some evolutionary or independent spontaneous process. Each individual spirit-being within the Sovereign God's kingdom was created through his power and each has various attributes, intelligence, and a quality of life far superior to that of humans. Therefore, the Sovereign God and the Creator God who became the Savior of mankind are worthy of continual adoration, praise, worship, service, and gratitude from these spirit-beings.
Spirit-beings who truly understand the awesome gift of their existence and that all they are, have, and are allowed to enjoy is because the Sovereign God had them created are truly grateful and desire to show their gratitude through service, praise, and worship.
Does the willing service, praise, and worship from spirit-beings in the heavenly realm give the Sovereign God and the Creator God pleasure? Absolutely it does. It gives them pleasure in the same sense as a parent gets pleasure from the love, honor, and respect shown to them by obedient children who acknowledge their parents for all that they have done and continue to do for them.
IS IT POSSIBLE FOR ANGELS TO SIN?
In order to determine if it is possible for angels to sin, you must first understand the biblical definition of sin.
"Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law" (1.Jn.3:4 KJV).
"All unrighteousness is sin" (1.Jn.5:17 Para.). See also Rom.14: 22-23; Jms.2:10; 4:17.
Sin is the violation of the physical, spiritual, and moral law of God; sin is lawlessness. Sin is any deviation from God's righteous laws, precepts, and principles which define how to conduct one's life in order to have a harmonious relationship with God. Therefore, sin is any deviation from God's physical or spiritual law.
Q. Is it possible for an angel who is loyal to the Sovereign God to rebel against him and violate his law?
A. Yes. Spirit-beings have the freedom to choose the path that their life will take. They have the choice to remain loyal or rebel. Satan who was an extremely high ranking spirit-being in the Kingdom of God rebelled against the Sovereign God and his rule of law, along with hundreds of millions and perhaps billions of other spirit-beings.
"He that commits sin is of the devil; for the devil sinned from the beginning. . ." (1.Jn.3:8 KJV Para.).
"For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment. . ." (2.Pet.2:4 KJV). See also Isa.14:12; Jn.8:44.
Q. Is it possible for an evil spirit to repent and avoid being punished for their rebellion?
A. No. It is not possible for the following reasons:
God's law only sets forth the law to be obeyed and the punishment for its violation. When the law is violated, the violator is automatically guilty and punishment is automatically assigned to the violator of the law. The penalty for a human who violates God's law is death (Rom.6: 23).
Humans can be forgiven for their violation of God's law because the Creator God, in the person of Christ, paid the penalty for their violation of God's law by sacrificing his perfect life in place of the violator's life. However, a spirit-being who rebels against God and violates his law must pay the penalty for their violation because no savior exists for spirit-beings.
What will happen to angels who rebel against God? See chapter 6, "Angels are Not Immortal" for details about the various punishments for angels who sin.
By B.L. Cocherell b9w33