Sunday, September 1, 2013

God and the Angels

Lord, are there few that be saved?--->
<---Efficacy of prayer


An angel is a pure spirit created by God. An angel, from the Greek ἄγγελος - ángelos, is a supernatural being or spirit, usually in humanoid form, only to be able to imagine them. It is found in various religions and mythologies. Truly, they has neither form nor size, and are completly invisible to our sight. They are very smart, very superiors to human being.
Each person who comes to world has his guardian angel, and he will be his guide in the earth till his death and both together will climb to Heaven.
The Old Testament theology included the belief in angels: the name applied to certain spiritual beings or intelligences of heavenly residence, employed by God as the ministers of His will.

Later Christians inherited Jewish understandings of angels, which in turn may have been partly inherited from the Egyptians. In the early stage, the Christian concept of an angel characterized the angel as a messenger of God. Angels are creatures of good, spirits of love, and messengers of the savior Jesus Christ. Later came identification of individual angelic messengers: Gabriel, Michael, Raphael, Uriel, and Lucifer (Satan). Then, in the space of little more than two centuries (from the 3rd to the 5th) the image of angels took on definite characteristics both in theology and in art.

God controls the government of the universe. "None leaf falls of tree, or the wind arises or increases its force, except by God's express command. God sees everything, God knows everything, nothing escapes before his eyes." Further, "since angels are the powers of God, it follows that they never cease from their office of working.
For God never can rest: he sustains the world by his energy, he governs everything however minute, so that not even a sparrow falls to the ground without his decree (Matthew 10:29)...

"The Biblical worldview is uncompromising: God is running the world. Every atom in the universe is under His command. His Word created and sustains in Him. That is why He can assert His power and authority in such absolute terms:

I form the light and create darkness,
I make peace and create calamity,
I, the LORD, do all these things. (Isaiah 45:7)

Who can speak and have it happen
if the LORD has not decreed it?
Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
that both calamities and good things come?
(Lamentations 3:37, 38)".

God works continually by angels...so that all creatures are animated by angelic motion: not that there is a conversion of the angel into an ox or a man, but because God exerts and diffuses his energy in a secret manner, so that no creature is content with his own peculiar vigor, but is animated by angels themselves."

THE CREATION OF THE ANGELS

The angels were created sometime during creation week, after Genesis 1:1. They were not in existence prior to that. It is most likely the angels were created early-on, as they were apparently observers of the work of creation.

Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens,
praise him in the heights! Praise him, all his angels,
praise him, all his host!
Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the LORD!

For he commanded and they were created. And he established them for ever and ever; he fixed their bounds which cannot be passed.
Praise the LORD from the earth, you sea monsters and all deeps, fire and hail, snow and frost, stormy wind fulfilling his command! Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars! Beasts and all cattle, creeping things and flying birds!

Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth! Young men and maidens together, old men and children!
Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his glory is above earth and heaven. He has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his saints, for the people of Israel who are near to him. Praise the LORD! (Psalm 148)

The association of the angels with the stars suggests that the angels were created one by one, and each named, as the stars are all named, "He determines the number of the stars, he gives to all of them their names." (Psalm 147:4)

God questioned Job about his knowledge of the creation,"Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements --surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God [bene elohim, the angels] shouted for joy?" (Job 38:4-7)

The angels belong to ranks and orders, but they are not related to one another, that is they are not a connected race as we are. The Letter to the Hebrews tells us that salvation is not offered to the angels but is reserved for the human family, for all the descendants of Adam.

.we see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for every one. For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through suffering.
For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified have all one origin. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, "I will proclaim thy name to my brethren, in the midst of the congregation I will praise thee." And again, "I will put my trust in him."

And again, "Here am I, and the children God has given me." Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same nature, that through death he might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage.

For surely it is not with angels that he is concerned but with the descendants of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brethren in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make expiation for the sins of the people.
For because he himself has suffered and been tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted. (Hebrews 2:9-18)

THE INHABITANTS OF THE SPIRITUAL REALM

Perhaps the most important thing to understanding angels is knowing what/who they are and why and how they were created!
The Bible says that they are created beings. They were created by God to be angels. They are not people that have 'become' angels. Like the rest of creation, they were made by and for Jesus to glorify and praise God.
The Bible also says that angels were created before the earth and they might well have actually had an active part in the creation of the earth. They were certainly excited about it!

God's angels live in heaven with God and belong to Him. On several occasions, Jesus refers to angels as belonging to God and being in heaven.
There are lots of them! Jesus describes being able to call on 144,000 angels and twice over 100 million angels are described as worshipping God in heaven.

A legion in the Roman army was made up of 12,000 soldiers. So being able to call on 12 legions of angels meant a lot! Ten thousand times ten thousand equals 100 million, but also in the greek language, at the time these verses were written, ten thousand was the largest number you could have. So ten thousand times ten thousand was a number so big that you couldn't really imagine it!

Angels are 'spiritual' beings and don't have bodies as we think of them. They also seem to be a higher level of creation than man (on earth).
Angels are also described as being like winds and fire. In fact, both the Hebrew and Greek words for 'spirit' can also mean 'breath' or 'wind'.
But this doesn't mean that they are 'wishy washy floaty' things! They have thoughts, intelligence (they can speak God's heavenly language as well as all the languages of earth) and all emotions that the human being feel.

Angels don't die, nor marry or pro-create so, they were probably all created at the same time. God's angels also know their rightful place each one, and none angel is displeased by that place that God gave it, be smallest or largest category.
They exist to worship and serve God – not be worshipped themselves.

Angels do have free will to make their own choices. Towards the beginning of creation, one of the highest ranking angels, Lucifer – also now known as Satan or 'The Devil' rebelled against God and decided he wanted God's power. There was a great battle and Lucifer and his followers (about a third of all the angels) lost, were punished and thrown out of heaven. They now work against God and his holy angels to try and stop people knowing God.

Angels (and the 'fallen' angels) are not normally 'visible' to our eyes. It may be that they can choose to reveal themselves to us (or when God allows us to see them).
Having said that, angels, if allowed by God, can also appear as 'normal' men, as described in the Bible when Abraham and his nephew Lot were visited by 'men'.

Another example is at the empty tomb when Jesus was raised from the dead.
They don't all have wings! Only certain types of angelic/heavenly beings are described as having wings.

Angels also know everything that God permit them to know, and be everywhere. They serve God and follow his commands. As well as being under God's control we're told in the Bible,
that in heaven Christians will actually judge angels!

Wow! But remember that's only in heaven: we can't tell them what to do here on earth. The best way of knowing what angels are like here, is by knowing their and our creator, God. And the only way to know God is through Jesus, the Son of God.

WHAT DO ANGELS LOOK LIKE?

This is a really good question with quite a few answers! It all depends on what you mean by angel!
The Bible describes what some angels look like but certainly not all of them.
Much more detail is given to certain types of angels than others.

In the Bible, angels and angelic/heavenly beings appear to be a-sexual (without any sex), meaning that they don't belong to either the male or female gender. However, through the site I refer to angels in the masculine as it's easier in English to do so!

ORDINARY ANGELS

I've called these angels 'ordinary', but of course they are far from this! I've used the word ordinary to mean 'other angels in the Bible that aren't specifically named'.
In most angelic appearances in the Bible, no physical description is given, just that an angel appeared or came or that someone 'looked like an angel'. People don't seem to have had any trouble recognising that the visitors they saw were angels, so there must be something very special about them that is unmistakable.

However, most angels that are described in the Bible are normally described as tall young men with shining faces and wearing white simple robes. Also there is no mention of any wings.
These descriptions all come from the time when Jesus was raised from the dead.

Which also seems to fit what we know about the two angels that are specifically named in the Bible: Michael and Gabriel.
It might be that we're not told that much about what angels look like as we might be so much in awe that we would start to worship them, something which we should not do.

And we could also be tricked into worshipping the Devil (Satan) and his angels as they can make themselves look wonderful.
In none of these quotes are angels described as having wings! Although certain types of angelic beings do have wings (the Seraphim, Cherubim and the Four Creatures, see below for more information), 'Ordinary Angels' are never described 'with wings' in the Bible. The idea that all angels have wings might well have come from legends and folklore in the middle east, where many of the religions (ancient and modern) have spirits and winged creatures.

In fact, once in the Bible, we are told that angels used a stairway (or ladder) to travel between heaven and earth.
So all of this suggests that a good description of an 'Ordinary Angel' would be:
A tall young man with a shining/glowing face (and possibly golden hair)] wearing a simple white robe and who doesn't have wings! And it would be something that we certainly wouldn't mistake for anything else.

This description also fits many 'angel sightings' seen all over the world. To find out more about these sighting, please have a look on the Further Reading page, for some good books and sites on the subject.

WHAT DO ANGELS DO IN HEAVEN?

Another good question! And like many questions about angels, there are many different answers!

Throughout the Bible we are told that angels have many roles including:

Being God's Messengers
Being God's Holy Warriors
Praising & Worshipping God
Being 'Guardian Angels' - Protecting & Directing people on behalf of God

The are very varied activities and, as we'll see, they can sometimes overlap!

GOD´S MESSENGERS

The word angel means 'Messenger' so, not surprisingly, many times in the Bible, God chooses angels to take his message to people.
Probably the most famous time that angels were God's messenger was when they were used to announce the coming of Jesus into the world – both at his birth and to tell Jesus' friends that he had come back to life.
The job of telling Mary that she would have a very special baby went to God's chief messenger, the angel Gabriel.

We're not told the names of the angels that told the shepherds about the birth of Jesus, or those who announced the resurrection of Jesus, but they also had great messages to tell the world!
The angels opening words "Do not be Afraid" seem to be a common opening greeting from angels when they are bringing good or comforting news.

In many other places in the Bible, angels are used to help God tell his message. In the Old Testament, angels have a part at the two most occasions in the creation and so also the Christian´s faith.
In the New Testament, angels help to bring Jesus' followers to people who don't know about Jesus. The also can sometimes bring people to Jesus' followers!

An angel also gives comfort and reassurance to Paul, one of the important early Christians, when we was on his way to Rome to face trail, but got caught in a violent sea storm.

But like all messengers, angels don't just bring good news to people. In the Bible we see them bringing messages of warnings, telling of judgments and even carrying out the judgments.
In the story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah two angels, who appear to have looked like normal men (albeit very handsome and attractive), warn Lot and his family of them judgment and destruction of the cities and help them escape. But the cities, and all the other inhabitants, are still destroyed by God. The story also gives a warning about looking back at what might have been.

One King Herod, who ruled Israel under the Roman occupation and who also opposed God and the early Christians, was judged for speaking too proudly and it was an angel who carried out the judgment.
In the final book of the Bible, Revelation (and a book that features lots of angels!), on many occasions angels are seen carrying out God's judgment on His behalf.
Some of those scenes seem confusing and scary, and they are! But through them all, angels obey and work for God and God alone.
They also show that angels are powerful spiritual creatures, very capable of fulfilling another of their roles as God's mighty Warriors.

GOD´S MIGHTY WARRIORS

As we've seen above, angels aren't just nice, kindly beings, they are also the mighty and powerful warriors of God. In fact there's a dramatic description of a war in the spiritual realm between the Archangel Michael and God's angels and The Devil/Satan/Lucifer and his rebellious angelic followers.

Sometimes Michael is pictured in art wearing medieval style armour, showing that he is a warrior. There are other times in the Bible when angels are described like an army or with swords, ready for battle.
And sometimes it's not always the people that see the angels to start with!

Elsewhere in the Bible, angels are described as being at war with spiritual forces that are against them and God.
In the Jewish religion, Michael is the angel of Israel and is referred to as 'Your Prince' (because Daniel was a Jew).
This passage also suggests that other angels also have responsibility for different geographical areas. But not all these 'area' angels are the holy angels of God, some - rebellious angels that now follow the Devil and his evil plans - control areas to try and stop God and his followers.

The 'prince of the Persian kingdom' attempted to stop an angel of God visiting Daniel for three weeks! But Michael came and helped his fellow angel. This angel then went back and fight the 'prince of Persia' again and the 'prince of Greece' (one of God's angels) would come and watch over Daniel and his work.

In the book of Ezekiel, in the Bible, the Devil/Satan/Lucifer is called 'The King of Tyre' (an ancient city in what is now Lebanon), showing that he had influence over the ruler of that country during that time.

The angels (both good and evil) have influence over areas and their leaders today. This is a very complex subject and not one that I can cover here.

One of the early Christian writers, Paul, reminds us of this on going spiritual battle and that Christians have the 'Armour of God' to protect them and help them in this fight against the worst enemy of God.

PRAISING AND WORSHIPPING GOD

In the Bible, perhaps the biggest and most important role for angels is praising and glorifying God.
There's a description of over 100 million angels praising God in Heaven.

Angels we're also there celebrating the Birth of Jesus. It doesn't say how many, only a 'great company of the heavenly host', but that might have been 100 million of angels!
So for angels, praising God is very important. In fact, in the Psalms we're told that not only angels, but all of creation (that's also you and me!) we have born to praise God

GUARDIAN ANGELS

Perhaps the most famous role of angels is as 'Guardian Angels'. This seems to be a 'normal' duty of angels in the Bible – not a big and special role. Several times in the Bible, angels are seen as guardians/protectors and comforters.
In these two accounts, the angel gives support and encouragement to Hagar and Elijah.

In one famous Bible story, again an angel offers support, and something a lot more, as Daniel is saved from starving lions!
The impact of the work of the angel was so great that it changed the view of an extremely powerful King! On a couple of occasions in the Bible, angels break Christians out of Jail!
Nowhere in the Bible does it say that everyone has a 'personal guardian angel'. In fact, the Bible seems to suggest that angels are primarily involved with the protection of Christians ('those who will inherit salvation' and 'those who fear him').

The Church believes that all children 'belong to God' until this age – when they can decide for themselves whether to follow God or not. During this time, angels have a duty of care over them.
In the garden of Gethsemane on the night before the death of Jesus, an angel came to comfort him. And then when Jesus was arrested, He makes it clear that angels could have come and guarded and rescued him – but they were under God's orders to allow the arrest death of Jesus to happen.

Another way that angels are believed to help people is that they might help to take Christians to heaven following death. In fact, this type of angelic activity isn't really mentioned at all in the Bible. They are only mentioned once in a story told by Jesus about a rich man and a beggar called Lazarus.

There are many stories of Christians seeing angels/and or Jesus at the time of death, leading them into heaven and the presence of God.
There are also many miraculous stories of angelic guardians and protectors helping Christians all over the world. But this site isn't the place for them!
However, I'll put one story here Like many stories to do with angelic intervention, the angels are here in the earth to protect people – not to stop something bad happening.

ARCHANGELS, MICHEL, AND GABRIEL

Only two of God's angels are directly named in the Bible, the Archangel Michael and Gabriel, God's special messenger. So these two angels must be special angels!
Another important rank of angels are Archangels.

ARCHANGELS

The term or prefix "arch" is Greek for ruling or Chief. Archangels are only mentioned twice in the Bible and only one angel is specifically called an Archangel, Michael.
The only other time the word Archangel appears in the Bible is to do with the end of time.

Both of these cases, speak of a singular Archangel which could suggest that there is only one arch or ruler angel and that indeed is Michael.
There is a strong Jewish tradition that says there are seven Archangels and many think that the seven angels mentioned in the book of Revelation could be seven Archangels.

In the Old Testament book of Daniel, Michael is called 'one of the chief princes', which might suggest that there's more than one archangel!
During the the middle ages, an 'angelic' hierarchy was written by an author only known as ' Pseudo-Dionysius'. In this list of nine ranks, archangels are ranked second from bottom, which seems rather strange for a "ruling angel"!

According to Jewish tradition (but not the Bible!) the seven archangels are:
- Michael
- Gabriel
- Rapheal
- Uriel
- Raguel
- Saraqael
- Remiel

Out of the seven, only Michael and Gabriel are named in the Bible (Only Michael is called an archangel in the Bible.). An angel called Raphael has a major part in the book of Tobit.

The book of Tobit is part of a group of books known as the the Protestant Apocrypha these books are a collection that are considered important, but are not in the Bible and not considered sacred by Protestants and the Catholic and Orthodox. The other four 'archangels' are listed in the book of Enoch. This book is in the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha a group of books considered sacred by the Ethiopian Orthodox Christians.

MICHAEL

The Archangel Michael is one of only three angels that are named in the Bible (the others being Gabriel and Lucifer, the original name of Satan / The Devil). We are told that he is 'one of the chief princes', 'the great prince', 'a mighty warrior' and 'leader of other angels'. He is God's enforcer of law and judgement and is the only angel specifically called an archangel in the Bible.

The name Michael means 'Who is like God?' (notice the question mark). Michael appears to have a special role in guarding the nation of Israel and the Jewish people. In Jewish tradition, Michael is the author of Psalm 85, which is a sad poem about the suffering of the nation of Israel. He has also been associated with the 'man' who spoke to Joshua at the battle of Jericho.

In his role as chief warrior angel, it could well Michael's voice that announces the return of Jesus to earth.
It is thought that is was Michael who fought with, and threw out the Devil/Satan/Lucifer from Heaven (when the Satan revolted against God and tried to take God's place) and that Michael became the 'top angel' in the Satan's place.

He is often depicted wearing medieval armour, ready for battle - very appropriate for his warrior role! In some Christian traditions, Michael is said to have appeared to Mary (Jesus' mother) to tell her that she would die soon and that he carried her deceased body into heaven. It is Catholic dogma that Mary didn't die but that she was taken straight to heaven, by Michael or by Jesus.)

In Islam, Michael is known as Mikail and the Koran says that he sheds tears over the sins of the faithful and these tears become the angels known as the Cherubim.

GABRIEL

The name Gabriel means 'God's Hero' and he is God's special messenger angel. On several occasions in the Bible he is given the job of coming to earth to give important announcements and tell of special events.
So it was Gabriel who had the amazing job of telling Mary that she would be the mother of Jesus, the king of the universe! It's also highly likely that it was Gabriel who spoke to Joseph and told him that Mary would have a special baby called Jesus.

Nowhere in the Bible is Gabriel called an archangel, although in Jewish folklore he is one of the seven archangels. In Daniel 9:21 it says that Gabriel arrives in 'swift flight', but it doesn't mention wings! Swift flight could just mean quickly!

SCIENCE AND ANGELS

Most of modern science pays little heed to anything that exists in the spiritual realm. In the first place, the scientific method limits scientific investigation to the physical world. The prevailing secular scientific world view today is that of naturalism, or scientism.
Naturalism holds that only the physical world is relevant. God if He exists at all, He plays no role in the day by day running of the universe. At most, God could be a "First Cause," but if so, we do not need God to explain anything to us after the Big Bang begins.

Or, many say that the material world is all there is, so-called spiritual truth either does not exist or has no relevance to the world of science. These views are radically different in comparison to a Biblical world-view.
The physical world is only half of the creation, and the invisible half of creation is the more permanent and substantial than the physical world. In many ways the material world is a world of shadows. Not only did God design the universe, He constructed it in minute detail over a period of time and then set it all in motion. Furthermore, without His moment by moment sustaining power the very atoms themselves would fly apart and the universe would go up in smoke. This is clear from statements such as Hebrews 1:1-4.

Ultimately, all energy and power and life come into the physical world from the unseen spiritual world as the source, even though we do not know how to formulate scientific laws to describe the interactions between these two realms. Since science is bounded by many intrinsic limitations, the responsibility for our failure to be fully-informed and educated concerning the dual realms of creation should probably be laid at the door of the church.
God's people are given the task of explaining to the world those areas of knowledge that depend upon divine revelation, subjects that are, by nature, out-of-bounds for science.

"The amazing fact which the Scripture clearly declares, but which thousands of Christians have failed to see, is that God has designed that his church should be a kind of government on earth undergirding visible governments.
This would make possible a climate of benevolent law and order, the rule of justice and peace, and would hold in restraint the wild forces of tyranny, anarchy and murder. (See Matt. 5:13,14; Phil. 2:14,15; 1 Tim. 2:1,2.)

Whenever the church has approached the biblical pattern, righteous conditions have begun to prevail. And when it has turned from this divine pattern to rely on secondary forces it has become proud, rich and tyrannical, or worldly, weak and despised by all." (Ray C. Stedman, Body Life).

According to the Bible, there are two levels of creation: one physical and one (the more important) spiritual. The two realms the material and the spiritual were "tightly coupled" before the fall and though there is still coupling between these realms it is less than it was in former times. Both spiritual and material domains of reality have become in only one, subsequent to creation, and active evil is present in both realms.
Scientific observations of the physical world have been, are now, and will be, affected by happenings in the spiritual world. Although we may not see the causes, the effects will be there. The fall of man is accompanied by a "curse" on nature described in Genesis 3:

And to Adam he [God} said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, `You shall not eat of it,' cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth to you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

The effect of the curse is to reduce the fecundity, resilience and vitality of nature allowing "opportunistic" thorns and thistles and weeds to compete more successfully with crops and fruits useful to men and animals.

Additional "curses" which are consequences of human evil are described as the Biblical account unfolds. For example God spoke to Cain, "What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood is crying to me from the ground. And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength; you shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth." (Genesis 4:11-12)

Adam's sin cost him his position as Manager and Steward over the earth. God had granted this to Adam at the time of his creation,

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
And God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth. (Genesis 1:26-28)

Man's lost dominion is described in the opening chapters of Hebrews. There Jesus Christ is presented as the Federal head of a new race of men who will place man back again in the position of dominion over creation:

"For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. It has been testified somewhere, 'What is man that thou art mindful of him, or the son of man, that thou carest for him? Thou didst make him [man] for a little while lower than the angels, thou hast crowned him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under his [man's] feet.'
Now in putting everything in subjection to him, [man] he left nothing outside his control. As it is, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him [man]. But we see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for every one.
For it was fitting that he, [Jesus] for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through suffering." (Hebrews 2:5-10).

Verse five contains a hidden and important clue about how governs the universe. The age which is to come is not ruled by the angels, the author says. The implication is that the age we live in, is ruled by the angels (acting on God's behalf). On this important passage Ray C. Stedman says the following,

Some fascinating themes are introduced by this observation. It raises immediately the question, What is meant by the world to come? It can mean (1) life after death, (2) the future kingdom of Christ on earth (the millennium) or (3) the new heavens and the new earth. Since almost nothing is said in Hebrews about life after death (9:27), (1) can be dismissed without further development for it is obviously not what he refers to in the phrase about which we are speaking.

That limiting phrase probably looks back to 1:11-12 which emphasizes the changes which the material creation will experience. Paul, in Ephesians 2:7, speaks of "coming ages," indicating that at least two more ages lie ahead. The two which Scripture continually names are the restored Davidic kingdom (the millennium) and the new heavens and the new earth.

In several places Scripture describes the new heavens and earth as lasting forever, intimating It would be the last age yet to come. But the word world (Gk okoumene) in 2:5 refers not to the cosmos, but to the inhabited earth, and this would strongly suggest the writer has in mind (2), the kingdom of Christ on earth.

The world to come, "the age of the Messiah in which the messianic promises and prophecies of old find their fulfillment." It is surely to this that Jesus refers in Matthew 19:28, 'Truly, I say to you, in the new world [palingenesia, 'restoration'], when the Son of man shall sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel'.

Several passages in Hebrews (6:5 and 12:22-24) suggest that this kingdom is in some sense already available to those who live by faith. Perhaps, we should see this new age to come as spiritually arrived, yet physically still to come.
He further quotes Daniel 10:20, which names angelic beings as 'the prince of Persia' and 'the prince of Greece,' and Daniel 10:21 and 12:1 speak of Michael as 'the great prince' who champions the people of Israel. This concept would explain why the fallen angel called Satan is referred to as 'the god of this world' and is permitted his control until the Lord returns and the new age begins and the curse is lifted from nature. Then, too, the devil will be bound and cast into a bottomless pit for a thousand years (Rev 20:2-3).

"This background seems to give special meaning to the quotation from Psalm 8 which the writer of Hebrews now invokes. David's psalm is a wondering reaction to the majesty of the night sky as it reveals the power and wisdom of God and forces the question, What part do puny human beings play in such a universe? The answer is that we were made a little lower than the angels, but then crowned with glory and honor, and everything has been put under our feet. This is a direct reference to Genesis 1:26:

CHERIBIM AND SERAPHIM, THE FOUR LIVING CREATURES

Three types of amazing 'heavenly beings' that are described in the Bible. They don't sound like anything that we'd normally think of as 'angels'!

These beings are the Seraphim or Seraphs, Cherubim or Cherubs & The Four Living Creatures. Each have important roles in heaven serving God.

SERAPHIM OR SERAPHS

The word Seraphim (one seraph, two or more seraphim) means “burning ones” or nobles. They are also sometimes called the 'ones of love' because their name might come from the Hebrew root for 'love'. Seraphim are only fully described in the Bible on one occasion. This is in the book of the prophet Isaiah, when he is being commissioned by God to be a prophet and he has a vision of heaven.

So these types of heavenly beings have six wings, but they only use two of them for "flying". It sounds strange to use wings to cover your face and feet. They may well cover their face because, being so close to God, they would witness His full glory which would be too powerful to behold. Feet are considered 'unclean' and so not worthy to be shown to God. (Some scholars also think that 'feet' could actually mean 'genitals'.) We're not told how many Seraphim there are, but it's more than one.

Their position is "flying" above God's throne, unlike the Cherubim who are beside/around it. Their primary duty is to constantly glorify and praise God and they may also be the personal 'attendant' angels of God. Their eternal song "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory." has been used by Jews and Christians for thousands of years to join with the angels in praising God. In Hebrew, to use the same word three times to describe something means that the person/object is utterly like the word. So calling God Holy three times means that God is utterly and perfectly holy.

In Jewish folklore, and some later Christian works, the Seraphim are said to be the highest rank of angel. This is probably because of their very close proximity to God.

In art, Seraphim are often red (because of their names 'burning ones') and are shown holding a flaming sword with the words 'holy, holy, holy' on the blade.

The coal in Isaiah's vision, that touches his lips, is used to signify that Isaiah is now purified and fit to be a prophet. The coal came from the altar in heaven, so would have been very powerful. Fire is also used in many religions and faiths as a way of purifying and cleansing something.

CHERUBIM OR CHERUBS

When most people think of Cherubs they'll think of pudgy little baby-like creatures, with two little wings, who are rather cute. However, that's not how the Bible describes them! Cherubs (the correct pural is Cherubim) are described in two books of the Bible, Genesis and Ezekiel (a Jewish prophet).

In Genesis they guard the Garden of Eden, following Adam and Eve's banishment from the Garden, and are described holding flaming swords.
The prophet Ezekiel has a vivid vision of heaven where he sees many angelic beings. His description of the Cherubim is powerful – almost frightening.
Not your average cute little angel! These are powerful heavenly beings with four faces and four wings.

The Cherubim are also described in the construction of the 'Ark of the Covenant'. The Ark was the dwelling place of God with the Israelites during their exodus in the desert.
The ark was placed in the Jewish Temple, when it was built in Jerusalem. The holy part of the Temple (where the ark was placed and where the highest alter was located) also featured statues of Cherubim.
In Ezekiel's vision he also describes another type of angelic beings that seem to be associated with the Cherubim. Their description is even more strange, to our eyes.

Certainly an amazing scene. Ezekiel's vision might seems strange, it might well be that human eyes and senses just can't properly describe the wonder of heaven.
The Bible doesn't say how many Cherubim there are, but certain more than one! Their role is to guard God's Holy domain and presence from any sin and corruption. They are sometime known as the throne angels as they are seen to be around the throne of God.
In Jewish folklore the 'Throne Angels' are known as Merkabah.

Having four faces on four side of their heads and being arranged in a square, they can travel in any direction without having to turn.
The word Cherub may come from a term 'to guard' which would fit well with their role. No where in the Bible are the Cherubim actually called angels!
So far from being cute, cuddly creatures, the Cherubim are the mighty and powerful guardians to the service of God.

THE FOUR LIVING CREATURES

In the final book of the Bible, Revelation, there's a description of 'Four Living Creatures'.
These amazing creatures have features in common with both the Seraphim, in having six wings and continually praising God; and like the Cherubim, that they number four, are covered in eyes and look like a lion, ox, man and eagle.

Whether these creatures are Seraphim, Cherubim or another sort of angelic/heavenly being, we simply don't know. But they are certainly amazing and very powerful always to the service of God.

THE HIERARCHY OF THE ANGELS

In the hierarchy of the angels as revealed to us in Scripture, the greatest and mightiest are known as the "cherubim," among whom are the "Four Living Creatures." The Bible calls them "the four beasts," but this is a poor translation of the Greek, which means "living beings." They are remarkable creatures, first described for us in detail by the prophet Ezekiel at the time of the Babylonian captivity of the Jews in July 593 BC.

Isaiah may have seen these same great angels earlier in his vision recorded in Isaiah. The Hebrew word found in the latter passage is Seraphim, ("burning ones"), rather than Cherubim, thus many Bible scholars treat the Seraphim as a separate, but very high class of angels. Our common notion of "cherubs," as childlike harmless angels with tiny fluttering wings is very unbiblical.

Cherubim with whirling, flaming swords guarded the gate of access back into Eden after Adam and Eve were expelled, to keep them from eating of the Tree of Life in their fallen condition. In other words, they could not return to fellowship with God except by the way of the cross. Two figures of cherubim with outstretched arms covered the mercy seat which sat on the top of the Ark of the Covenant in the Tabernacle of Moses and later in the Temple of Solomon.





VISIONS, DREAMS, AND REVELATIONS

Ezekiel had the clearest visions of God seen by all the prophets. As a young man in his twenties, he was carried into captivity to Babylon (along with Daniel) but was allowed to see the glory and splendor of the Holy One of Israel. He was given to know details about the long term future of the nation, and to foresee the last and greatest temple the Jews would one would one day build under Messiah's personal direction. Visions differ from dreams and hallucinations in the Biblical record. God sometimes spoke audibly to individuals in the Bible; at other times, He influenced men such as Joseph and Daniel by giving clear and specific guidance through dreams.

Today, now that Scripture is complete, God's last word to man is Jesus, as the opening verses of the letter to the Hebrews states. Colossians admonishes us,

"Let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a sabbath. These are only a shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. Let no one disqualify you, insisting on self-abasement and worship of angels, taking his stand on visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God. If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the universe, why do you live as if you still belonged to the world?" (2:16-20)

The cultures of society, human traditions, habit patterns, and lifestyles are actually controlled to a large degree by angelic forces operating behind the scenes of the world-system. We need not, and should not, rely on visions or experiences as reliable sources of information about the unseen world. When one becomes a Christian he or she is taken out from under the Satanic government of the world-system and placed under the direct rulership of Jesus Christ.
He has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:13-14)

Not all visions come from God. The devil is the great counterfeiter and even has the power to accomplish signs and wonders and miracles. Hallucinations, such as those experienced by individuals on drugs, or under severe emotional stress, or deprived of sleep, are usually heightened imaginations.

Many false religions and cults base their teachings on the visionary experiences of their founders. Islam was born because the "prophet" Mohammed received a vision from an angel. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints (the Mormon church) was initiated by a supposedly divine revelation given to Joseph Smith.
Demons and evil spirits and Satan himself coming "as an angel of light" are capable of counterfeiting experiences so that they appear to be coming from God when they are not. Such visions have most assuredly not come from the God who gave us the Bible.

"For such men [i.e., false teachers] are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is not strange if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness." (2 Corinthians 11:12-15)

Genuine visions, such as those seen by Ezekiel, Daniel, the Apostle John and other Biblical writers were experiences when the seer was allowed to briefly look behind the veil into the invisible world, (into the heavenly places). They saw into that more permanent and more permanent world of the Spirit. Today, only if an experience can be confirmed by direct words from scripture can the Christian be sure what is happening is coming from God.

The Christian faith is not existential, not based on experiences or emotion, but it is grounded in a thorough and complete body of knowledge given to us in the Bible. Biblical events are historically true as well, not at all based upon myth, folklore or tradition which form the backdrop of common world religions. Peter says,

"For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty." (1 Peter 1:16)

EZEKIEL´S VISION

In regard to the Four Living Creatures, Ezekiel saw them in a great vision as standing around the chariot-throne of God. They must be frightening and awesome creatures of great intelligence, with four faces, four great wings, and they are constantly engaged in ceaseless energetic activity. "As I looked, behold, a storm wind came out of the north, and a great cloud, with brightness around about it, and fire flashing forth continually, and in the midst of the fire, as it were gleaming bronze. And from the midst of it came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: they had the form of men, but each had four faces, and each had four wings. Their legs were straight, and the soles of their feet were like the sole of a calves foot; and they sparkled like burnished bronze. Under their wings on their four sides they had human hands. And the four had their faces and their wings thus: their wings touched one another; they went everyone straight forward without turning as they went. As for the likeness of their faces, each had the face of a man in front; the four had the face of a lion on the right side; the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and the four had the face of an eagle at the back. Such were there faces. And their wings were spread out above; each creature had two wings, each of which touched the wings of another, while two covered their bodies. And each went straight forward, wherever the spirit would go they went, without turning as they went.

Ezekiel's "wheels" are not UFO's but mysterious wheels within wheels "full of eyes round about." They seem to symbolize the great multi-dimensional mobility of God's portable chariot throne.

"As I looked, behold, a storm wind came out of the north, and a great cloud, with brightness around about it, and fire flashing forth continually, and in the midst of the fire, as it were gleaming bronze. And from the midst of it came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: they had the form of men, but each had four faces, and each had four wings.
Their legs were straight, and the soles of their feet were like the sole of a calves foot; and they sparkled like burnished bronze. Under their wings on their four sides they had human hands.
And the four had their faces and their wings thus: their wings touched one another; they went everyone straight forward without turning as they went. As for the likeness of their faces, each had the face of a man in front; the four had the face of a lion on the right side; the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and the four had the face of an eagle at the back.
Such were there faces. And their wings were spread out above; each creature had two wings, each of which touched the wings of another, while two covered their bodies. And each went straight forward, wherever the spirit would go they went, without turning as they went.

A great platform, the "sea of glass" stretches out above the throne of God, over the heads of the four living creatures. In recent years transparent metallic glass gold has been produced in the laboratory. The image of the crystal sea reappears in the Book of the Revelation (4:6, 15:2).

"Over the heads of the living creatures there was the likeness of a firmament shining like crystal, spread out over the heads. And under the firmament their wings were stretched out straight, one toward another; and each creature had two wings covering its body. And when they went, I heard the sound of their wings like the sound of many waters, like the thunder of the Almighty, a sound of tumult like the sound of a host; when they stood still they let down their wings. And their came a voice from the firmament over their heads; when they stood still, they let down their wings.
And above the firmament over their heads there was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like sapphire, and seated about the likeness of a throne was as it were the likeness of a human form. And upward from what had the appearance of his loins I saw as it were gleaming bronze, like the appearance of fire round about; and downward from what had the appearance of his loins I saw as I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness around about him. Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord." (Ezekiel 1:4-28, see also Chapter 10) (Modified KJV).
Seated on the throne is a human form. This man seems to be same Person as the "ancient of Days" named in Daniel. (See also Revelation 4:1-9, 5:1-7, 6:16, 19:4). Daniel records,

"As I looked, thrones were placed and one that was ancient of days took his seat; his raiment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames, its wheels were burning fire. A stream of fire issued and came forth from before him; a thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; the court sat in judgment, and the books were opened...
I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed." (Daniel 7:9-14)



FOUR MIGHTY ANGELS AROUND THE THRONE

The Four Living Creatures, the Cherubim, correspond one-to-one with the four Gospels with which the New Testament opens. Lion, ox, man, and eagle all symbolize various attributes of God in four-fold symmetry. Since the number "four" is symbolic of the world in scripture, we have in the four cherubim around the throne, a picture of God's government and concern for all aspects of the physical world, and the world-system which we call "human society."

The lion corresponds to the Gospel of Matthew---here Jesus is seen as the Lion out of the tribe of Judah, the rightful king, depicting God's kingly sovereignty over Israel and the nations. The ox pictures for us servitude and sacrifice (Mark); The Cherubim's face, like that of a man, corresponds to Luke's Gospel and pictures divine intelligence; and the eagle symbolizes the lofty sovereignty and deity of the Son of God (John's Gospel).

The four Gospels are also God's complete message to the descendants of Shem, Ham, Japheth, and to mankind in general, in the same order. The "wheels" of Ezekiel (God's "chariot throne") appear to symbolize divine mobility, (the ability of God to observe, to move and to act, anywhere and at anytime, unrestricted by the limitations of the material world). The entire vision seems to picture for us God's government of human affairs and of nature.

Similarly, the cherubim, the highest class of the angels, are also described for us in detail by John the Apostle on the Isle of Patmos about 95 AD:

"At once I (John) was in the Spirit, and lo, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne! And he who sat there appeared like jasper and carnelian, and round the throne was a rainbow that looked like an emerald. Round the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clad in white garments, with golden crowns upon their heads. From the throne issue flashes of lightning, and voices and peals of thunder, and before the throne burn seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God; and before the throne there is as it were a sea of glass, like crystal.

"And round the throne on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes (depicting the omniscience of God) in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like a flying eagle. And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to sing, 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!'

And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever; they cast their crowns before the throne, singing, 'Worthy are thou, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for thou didst create all things, and by thy will they existed and were created.'" (Revelation 4:2-11)

ANGELS AND THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNIVERSE

The Cherubim also seem to represent "God's Intelligence" with their all-seeing eyes and ability to move quickly in all four directions. The number "four" indicates they have a central role in God's government of human society. The Four Living Creatures seem to represent the topmost level of the system of angels who fall into definite hierarchy and class structures hinted at in scripture.

The Apostle Paul says there are angelic principalities (arche), powers (exousia), thrones (thronoi), dominions (kuriotes), and powers (dunamis).
Thus, there appear to be angels with power over a nation or a city or a planet or a star such as our sun. In addition to all manner of greater and lesser angels, the Mighty Archangel Michael, guardian of Israel, and the great messenger Gabriel are also named. (Only Michael, of all the angels, is actually called an archangel in scripture.
Lucifer is however named as one of the cherubim. He was probably the highest of all the angels. Bible scholar James Montgomery Boice calls him "the prime minister of the universe".

God created great numbers of spirits, some now fallen, and known now as demons. Demonic forces operate in all forms of idolatry and false religion, for instance. Demons, deceiving spirits, familiar spirits, and unclean spirits do not have bodies of their own; hence, they seek to possess humans (and can possess animals also).

The popular New Age fad of "channeling" appears to be a good example of demons acting through men and women who make themselves available to evil spirits so as to receive hidden, esoteric wisdom alleged to come from the past or from "other worlds."

Guardian angels watching over the lives of God's people are mentioned in the opening verses of the letter to the Hebrews, in the Psalms and in the Gospels. In the Book of the Revelation we are told of four angels who have charge over the "four winds that blow from the four corners of the earth." We also read of four fallen, now-bound, angels who are to be unloosed at the Euphrates River. The Greek word angelos and the Hebrew word malakh mean "messenger," but it is clear in the Bible that angels do much more than run errands and deliver mensajes for God.

Great and mighty angels will take charge in the unfolding of God's terrible judgments on the earth that are to come upon us at the end of the present age as described in the last book of the Bible. As mentioned earlier, angels seem to have control over the forces of nature and human events in their roles as instruments of God. This does not cause man to be a mere puppet, tossed, and buffeted about by the unseen activity of these mighty beings. However, the Bible emphasizes that we cannot understand what is happening in the world or in history without understanding the activity of God and of the angels.

Most of the angels are not named for us in the Bible. Commenting on Revelation Chapter 8 it is said,

When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets. (Rev 8:1-2)

This word about silence reminds us of the prophet Habakkuk's cry, "The Lord is in his Holy Temple; let all the earth keep silence before him!" {Hab 2:20 KJV}. This silence comes as a dramatic contrast to the shouting of praise and the playing of harps that has been going on in heaven up to this point.
Millions of angels, hosts of redeemed humans, and other heavenly creatures have been crying out before the throne of God, and singing praises to him. But now suddenly everything ceases.

When the seventh seal is opened there is total silence. It is a most dramatic pause. It reminds one of that moment of silence just before the last great "Hallelujah!" in the Hallelujah Chorus of Handel's Messiah. This is the silence of mystery, a silence of intense anticipation of what is about to happen. Our good friend, Earl Palmer, in his commentary on Revelation says, "It communicates in a dramatic way the full and awesome authority of God. Everything must wait for his kingly move."

"That move begins, as this account tells us, with seven angels being given seven trumpets to sound. It is all part of the opening of the seventh seal. These are impressive angels indeed. We are told they are the angels "who stand before God." That calls to mind the story in Luke 1:19 of an angel sent to Joseph to tell him that Mary will be the mother of a child. The angel identifies himself as "Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God," (cf, Luke 1:19).

These seven angels are probably archangels, and they are given an extremely important task in the sounding of these trumpets. They doubtless include Michael the archangel, who appears also in the book of Daniel. In fact, the apocryphal book of Enoch, an ancient book which is not part of our Bible, gives the names of all seven angels.
They are Uriel, Raphael, Raguel, Michael, Sarakiel, Gabriel, and Phanuel. Notice, their names all end in "el," which is short for the name of God. These are "angels of God," powerful angels, who are given these trumpets to sound.
(Angels of Doom)

It is also noted ( in a sermon on the gospels) that when Jesus calmed the sea of Galilee during a ferocious storm, he evidently spoke to a local angel who had charge of the weather. The angel's response was immediate,

"And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he [Jesus] was asleep. And they [the disciples] went and woke him, saying, 'Save, Lord; we are perishing.' And he said to them, 'Why are you afraid, O men of little faith?' Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, 'What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?'" (Matthew 8:24-27)

THE ANGEL OF THE LORD

One special angel is "The Angel of the Lord" who makes a number of appearances in the Old Testament. These are believed by careful Bible scholars to be a theophanies, or appearances of the Son of God, prior to His incarnation and the birth in the tiny city of Bethlehem. [THE Angel of the Lord)]

In the Old Testament, at many important times, a very special angel appears called 'the angel of the Lord' or 'the angel of God'. This angel is specifically described as 'the angel' not 'an angel' so it appears to be an individual angel that is being talked about. This angel also only appears before Jesus was born and isn't in the Bible after Jesus came to earth. (Angels are always 'an angel' in the New Testament!)

This might seems a strange thing to say, but as angel means 'messenger' or 'envoy' it does make sense! Christians believe that Jesus, the Son of God, was God's messenger to the world, so it makes sense that he would have been a messenger throughout all of history. In the Bible, it certainly says that Jesus helped to create the earth and is vital to the earth.

In the Bible, many times angels bring messages from God. But 'the angel' often speaks as if it was God speaking directly: and certainly gives messages and promises in a more direct way and with more authority. The 'angel of the Lord' gives directions and messages at very important times in the Jewish religion.

When God tests the faith of Abraham, it's 'the angel' that speaks to Abraham and makes a great promise about his son Isaac.
Before Abraham had his son Isaac, by his wife Sarah (or Sarai), he had another son with one of his servants called Hager (at this time Abrham's name was Abram). 'The angel' also spoke to Hagar, again making a promise .

Many Bible Scholars believe that this angel was Jesus interacting with people on earth before he was born. This is known as 'theophany' and comes from two Greek words: 'theo' meaning 'God' and 'phaino' which means 'to appear'. So it means 'God Appearing'.

THE ARMNIES OF THE LORD

The angelic host is under the direction of The Lord of Hosts (Yahweh Sabaoth), or the Lord of Armies. In the New Testament, Jesus heads up these military resources of the Godhead which include the angels, and eventually also the saints of God.
The active warfare in heaven between good and evil in the spiritual realm involves conflicts between fallen and unfallen angels as well as campaigns having to do with angelic interactions with human affairs.
An interesting incident in 2 Kings 6 in the life of Elisha the prophet gives a behind-the-scenes glimpse at God's angelic armies.
Alarmed at the ability of Elisha to warn the armies of Israel against impending attacks from the king of Syria, the latter attempted to capture Elisha when he was at Dothan. The sequence of events which follows clearly shows clearly the course of events is in reality controlled not by visible circumstances or "luck," or by Elisha's cleverness, but by the Lord working through angels:

"So he (the king of Syria) sent horses and chariots and a great army; and they came by night, and surrounded the city. When the servant of (Elisha) the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was round about the city.
And the servant said, 'Alas my master! What shall we do?' Elisha said,
'Fear not, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them. Then Elisha prayed, and said, 'O LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes that he may see.' So the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw; and behold the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
And when the Syrians came down against him, Elisha prayed to the LORD, and said, 'Strike this people, I pray thee with blindness.' So God struck them with blindness in accordance with the prayer of Elisha.

"And Elisha said to the Syrians, 'This is not the way, and this is not the city; follow me, and I will bring you to whom you seek.' And he led them to Samaria.
As soon as they entered Samaria, Elisha said, 'O LORD, open the eyes of these men, that they may see.' So the LORD opened their eyes, and they saw' and lo, they were in the midst of Samaria.

ANGELS AT WAR WITH ONE ANOTHER

Another interesting illustration showing how angelic activity interrelates with human affairs is given for us in the book of Daniel. Prayers by Daniel had reached the ears of God immediately (faster than the speed of light), but God's answer to these prayers, sent by angelic messenger, was delayed due to a mighty conflict between the messenger angel and evil angels who had charge of the affairs of nations around Israel:

"In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks. I ate no delicacies, no meat nor wine entered my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were ended. And in the twenty fourth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, that is the Tigris, I lifted up my eyes, and looked, and behold a man [an angel in human form] clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz: His body was like beryl, and his face like the appearance of lightning, and his eyes like flaming fire, his arms and his feet were like in color like burnished bronze, and the voice of his words like the noise of a multitude.

And I, Daniel, alone saw the vision: for the men that were with me saw not the vision; but a great trembling fell upon them, and they fled to hide themselves. Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my radiant appearance was fearfully changed, and I retained no strength. Yet heard I the voice of his words: and when I heard the voice of his words, then I fell on my face, in a deep sleep with my face toward the ground.

"And, behold, one in the likeness of the sons of men [the angel] touched my lips: then I opened my mouth, and spoke, and said to him who stood before me, 'O my lord, by reason of the vision pains have come upon me, and I have retained no strength. How can the servant of my lord talk with my lord?
For as for me, there remains no strength in me, nor is there breath left in me.' "Then one who had the appearance of a man came again and touched me, and strengthened me, and said, 'O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be to you, be strong, yes, be strong.'
And when he had spoken to me, I was strengthened and said, 'Let my lord speak; for you have strengthened me. Then said he, 'Do you know where I have come from to you? And now will I return to fight with the [angelic] prince of Persia: and when I have gone forth, lo, the [angelic] prince of Greece will come. But I will show you that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is no one who stands with me in these things, but [the archangel] Michael your prince." (Daniel 10:2-21)

Daniel was in Babylon at the time of the experience described above. The great angel who visited him in person was probably Gabriel. He was dispatched by God to assist Daniel but delayed en route because of "fighting with the prince (angel) of Persia."
The angel mentioned that after the warfare with the angel over Persia was ended then would come "the prince (high angel) of Greece."
Here, we get a hint that angelic activity then taking place in the heavenlies---involving God's angels warring against the angel over Persia---was relevant to current events in Babylon. That is, the kingdom of Babylon had fallen already, Persia would soon fall as a great world power and then Greece would rise.
The rise and fall of nations and kingdoms is thus linked to warfare among the angels at the highest levels. All of this warfare is of course under the sovereign direction of the Commander in Chief, Yahweh Sabaoth, the LORD of hosts. We now from subsequent human history after Daniel's time that the angel over Greece, in the time of Alexander the Great who came to power thereafter, would be in ascendancy.

ANGELS WORK BEHIND THE SCENES OF HISTORY

In Daniel, Chapter 12, the prophet records that the angel responsible for Israel, Michael, would "arise" [ascend in power] at the close of the latter days on behalf of God's people Israel. Associated with the rise of Michael would come the throwing down to earth of Satan and the "time of Jacob's trouble" spoken of by the prophet Jeremiah, "a time of trouble such as never has been since there was a nation till that time..." (Daniel 12:1-3).
Thus, angelic activity in heaven runs parallel with events on earth though it is difficult to establish a one-to-one correspondence between events transpiring in heaven and the timing of events on earth. Satan has not yet been cast out of heaven, but Jesus foresaw this future event clearly,

The seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!" And Jesus said to them, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you; but rejoice that your names are written in heaven." (Luke 10:17-20)

The actual future day when Satan is excluded from heaven and confined to earth is described in the book of the Revelation, Chapter 12,

Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they were defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of 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 day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. Rejoice then, O heaven and you that dwell therein! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!" (7-12)

In Zechariah, Chapter 1, are recorded the dreams of the prophet in which he saw horses riding to the corners of the earth. These horses symbolize divine activity in human affairs as do the better-known "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" (Revelation, Chapter 6). In the Book of the Revelation the attention of the reader is turned to events in heaven; then the scene switches back to events transpiring on earth in human history. As the Book of the Revelation unfolds, the two realms merge so that there is a closer connection ("closer coupling") between the two worlds. This is the meaning of the word apocalypse---"unveiling."

Angels keep records and execute judgments for God (Ezekiel 8-9). In fact there are apparently angels whose sole work is to record human deeds in great detail. Ezekiel saw them as scribes with parchment, pens and ink, but in our era it is easier for us to imagine these angels as using some kind of advanced laptop computers. Angels, acting for God, reduced the mighty world-conqueror Nebuchadnezzar to seven years of psychotic wanderings to humble him so that he would come to see who was really running the universe (see Daniel 4).

Angels announce important events in scripture, such as the birth of Jesus, for example. Ordinarily when angels appear among men, they take on human form and may even be mistaken for ordinary men. Hence, the writer of the letter to the Hebrews tells us, "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares." (Hebrews 13:2) The writer perhaps had in mind the visit of THE Angel of the LORD and two other angels to Abraham's tent on their way to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18). After a meal and a conversation (which included Abraham's petitions for the doomed cities), the two other angels departed. Upon arriving in Sodom, they were treated by the men of that city as if they were only handsome, desirable young men with whom the citizens of Sodom wished to entice into their immoral sexual activities. These angels rescued Lot, but Lot apparently remained in some doubt about the true identity of these visitors---were they ordinary men or somehow extraordinary? Some stories of angels appearing occasionally among us in our time seem to be well-founded. Angels evidently are able to take on human form from time to time.

In the Book of the Revelation, angels are frequently seen in dazzling appearances. The aged Apostle John, who had spent his youth traveling with Jesus as one of the apostles, and after that, six decades of godly ministry in daily fellowship with the living Lord, was nevertheless so overwhelmed by the splendor of the angels he saw in his visions that he was twice tempted to worship them---thinking they were actually the Lord in His risen splendor!
Demons and evil spirits, on the other hand, seem incapable in taking on physical appearance but gain access to the physical world by possessing men.
Demon possession is not uncommon in the world today and more and more is encountered in the United States due to our rapidly declining moral conditions and open Satan worship.

MAN IS INVOLVED IN THE ANGELIC CONFLICT

The New Testament also emphasizes that the Christian cannot understand what is happening to him and to the world he lives in unless he takes the angelic conflict seriously. The subject deserves very careful study by every Christian. The Apostle Paul writes,

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. (2 Corinthians 10:3-6)

Paul also writes clearly on this subject in the closing portion of his letter to the church at Ephesus:

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand against the wiles of the devil. For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Therefore take the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the equipment of the gospel of peace; besides all these, taking the shield of faith, with which you can quench all the flaming darts of the evil one.

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints." (Ephesians 6:10-19)

THE CHIEF OF THE FALLEN ANGELS

The Bible does not explain or justify the existence of God or of the devil; the existence of evil is already clear by Genesis, Chapter 3. As the Bible unfolds, we glean more and more information about the Tempter. He first appears in Genesis as a serpent---probably a dazzlingly beautiful creature who later became identified with the snakes we all tend to dread and fear. Satan may have appeared to Eve as a "shining one"---that is, an angel of light, a subtle counterfeit of the Presence of God who came to the garden regularly to fellowship with man.

Bible scholars agree that on although on the surface Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 passages seem to be written about evil earthly kings, they are also figurative pictures telling us much more.
Behind certain key individuals who have appeared on the world stage is a supernatural personality, an Evil Entity who controls and possesses men to varying degrees.
When this "prince of the power of the air" takes full control of a Caesar, or a Hitler, or a Stalin we have what the Apostle John calls, "an antichrist." Ultimately in history Satan will become fully incarnate in a "man of sin". THE [one, unique, and final] Antichrist. Satan's attributes can be seen in powerful and evil human rulers of the past: the King of Babylon, the King of Tyre, the Caesars, Hitler, etc. Isaiah and Ezekiel seem to be telling us about one of the Mighty Cherubim, perhaps the greatest of the archangels, who fell because of pride:

"How are you fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How are you cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart,
- I will ascend into heaven,
- I will exalt my throne above the stars of God:
- I will sit upon the mount of the assembly, in the far north:
- I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
- I will be like the most High'.

"Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the depths of the Pit. Those who see you shall stare at you, and ponder over you, 'Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms; who made the world like a desert, and overthrew its cities; who did not let his prisoners go home?
All the kings of the nations lie in glory, every one in his own tomb. But you are cast out of your sepulcher, like a loathed, untimely birth, clothed with the slain, those thrust through with a sword, who go down to the stones of the Pit; like a dead body trodden under feet you will not be joined with them in burial, because you have destroyed your land, and slain your people.
'May the descendants of evildoers nevermore be named! Prepare slaughter for his sons because of the guilt of their fathers, lest they rise and possess the earth, and fill the face of the world with cities.'" (Isaiah 14:12-22)

From Ezekiel we have additional light on one of the greatest of the angels and his first estate in the garden of God,
"Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 'Son of man, take up a lamentation over the king of Tyre, and say to him, 'Thus says the Lord God; you were the signet of perfection, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, carnelian, topaz, and the diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, emerald, and lapus lazuli, and gold; and wrought in gold were your settings and your engravings. On the day that you were created they were prepared. "You were the anointed guardian cherub who covers (guards), and I placed you there. You were upon the holy mountain of God; you walked in the midst of the stones of fire.

"You were blameless in your ways from the day that you were created, until iniquity was found in you. In the abundance of your trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned: so I cast you as profane from the mountain of God.

And I have destroyed you, O covering (guarding) cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty, you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor: I cast you to the ground, I exposed you before kings, that they might feast their eyes on you.
You have defiled your sanctuaries by the multitude of your iniquities, in the unrighteousness of your trade.
Therefore I have brought forth fire from the midst of you, it consumed you, and I have turned you to ashes on the earth in the sight of all those who see you.
All who know you among the peoples are appalled at you: you have come to a dreadful end, and shall be no more forever." (Ezekiel 28:1-19)

SATAN, LUCIFER, THE DEVIL AND DEMONS, EVIL SPIRITS

Satan is referred to by many names including Lucifer and 'the Devil'. Quite often Satan is referred to as the opposite of God. However, that is far from true! God created Satan as an Angel, and as such Satan only has the power of an Angel, no where near the power or authority of God!

The name Satan means 'Adversary' or 'Enemy' and indeed this being is the enemy of God and all mankind. Satan was created by God as an amazing (and good) Angel called Lucifer, which means 'Light Bearer' or 'Morning Star', and he was possibly even one (or the chief) Cherub. So he was one of, if not, the most important Angel(s).

However, this wasn't enough for Satan! He wanted to become God and have total power. God gave free will to the Angels (as well as to people). Sadly, Satan rebelled against God and there was a massive battle in Heaven. Satan lost and, with his followers, was thrown into Hell.

Satan's rebellion and the war in Heaven is described in the Bible in the Book of Revelation. So Satan wasn't alone and led a rebellion against God taking as many as a third of all the Angels with him. These are now what are commonly called Demons.

The original pure Angelic state of Satan and how he changed is also described by two Jewish Prophets - Ezekiel and Isaiah.
So we can see that God had created Satan as a beautiful and powerful Angel, but through his pride and greed he became totally evil.
We don't know exactly when the rebellion and war in Heaven took place. It occurred sometime between the creation of the Earth and the tempting of Eve (and Adam) in the Garden of Eden; It was Satan, in the form of a serpent (or snake), who tempted them and caused them to sin.

Because of this, Satan is sometimes called (or referred to as) a snake, serpent or dragon (as in the quotes above from Revelation).
So, from the first human, Satan has been trying to stop people following God; and he (and his followers) are still doing it today! In his first temptation, he used pride and greed - the same sins as he was guilty of when he rebelled against God.
Now Satan and his followers try 'every trick in the book' to stop people knowing God and Jesus; because they know that God has the total power and will ultimately have the victory!

Satan is called many other names in the Bible, all of which speak of his evil character now and what he tries to do. So Satan is called:

a dragon;
someone who 'leads the world' astray';
the accuser;
the 'lord of filth'; a liar and the father of lies;
a roaring lion looking for someone to eat;
the 'prince of this world' and
the 'god of this age'.

Those last two might sound a bit strange, and even good; but this is not the case!
The 'prince of this world' means someone trying to rule with his own (bad) rules and ideas, but he's not the King – that's God!

The 'god of this age' (notice the small 'g') doesn't mean that Satan is a deity, just a leader of a group of things. The true God (capital G) is the real ruler of the whole universe!

So whatever he's called, Satan/the Devil sounds exceedingly unpleasant – and he is! He not only hates God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, but also you and me and will try anything he can to stop us knowing how much God loves us.

He even tried to tempt Jesus, the Son of God, into following him!

So Satan lost that battle and he (and his evil angelic followers) have also lost the overall battle for the universe. Satan thought he had won, when he (thought he'd) managed to get Jesus killed. But he was very wrong! Jesus came back to live and defeated the power of death (and Satan) forever!

Although Satan knows he's lost, he still tries to stop people knowing about God and Jesus. Satan also knows his final fate and destination – and it's not a pleasant one (for him and his followers at any rate!)

DEMONS, EVEL SPIRITS

When Satan rebelled against God, the rebellion was not just Satan alone. Perhaps as many as a third of all the Angels (as we've seen above). Like Satan, they had free will and chose to leave God and follow Satan.
These rebellious (or 'fallen' angels) are known as demons, evil spirits or unclean spirits.

They now serve Satan and, like him, are evil and hate God and all people. They enjoy and want to cause pain, misery and suffering to people and many time in the Bible they are the cause of physical and mental illnesses.
The Bible makes it very clear that not every illness (physical or mental) is caused by demons/evil spirits/unclean spirits.

However, I believe that demons can still 'posses' people today and do want to cause harm and damage in any way they can. I also believe that through the power of God, and in the name of Jesus people, can be healed and that the demons can be driven out.
As above, we've seen that Jesus had total power over demons. In the Bible, demons knew who Jesus was. They still do and, as then, they are terrified of Jesus and what he can do to them!.

Here are two examples from the Bible which show Jesus' power over evil spirits.
Demons are still very powerful and not to be played or messed around with!
Many times in the Bible there are strong and serious warnings about contacting demons and getting involved with the occult.

The word 'occult' comes from the Latin word 'occultus' which means things that are mysterious, hidden and very secretive. Occult practices include astrology, fortune telling, using ouija boards, spirit channeling, and witchcraft.
Remember, demons were once God's Angels and so they can make themselves look attractive and claim to have more knowledge than they really do, but they only want to cause misery and chaos to all people who invoke them.

So there is a battle going on in the world, and it's far from just being a physical one.
But like their leader, Satan, the demons will lose and share the same fate as Satan.

Nowhere in the Bible is Satan and his demons current physical appearance fully described. In this quote from Ezekiel, which describes what Satan originally looked like, being covered in jewels and gold.

Whether this is what he still looks like we don't know. What Satan and his demons now look like is not described in the Bible. But we are told that he (and his demons) can make themselves look very attractive, so they can try to trick and tempt people (remember Satan's original 'Angelic' name Lucifer means 'Light Bearer'). He certainly not described as being big and red with a tail and pitchfork!

The Bible (and Jesus) warns not to get involved with Satan and his demons!

This page might have seemed gloomy and even frightening; but remember God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit are their Angels are far more powerful than Satan and his demons and the love of God just can't be beaten!

THE ANGEL OF LIGHT, LUCIFER: THE "LIGHT-BEARER"

"Lucifer" is sometimes known as the "light bearer" very possibly the very high angel who had stewardship over light, energy and power in the old creation. As the "anointed guardian Cherub" in the garden of God (a place in the heavenlies corresponding with the garden in Eden on earth), he may well have had enormous power and influence over the entire angelic host.

As well as God's angels, the Bible tells of rebellious angels; that although were at one time some of God's angels, now work against God and all of God's creation.
In the New Testament, Paul warns that he sometimes comes among men disguised as an angel of light (through false teachers and also as a giver of deceptive visions). In fact, he has now become the Prince of Darkness.

Lucifer may have been originally God's appointed watch guard over the forces of nature; for example, he could have been in charge of such physical phenomena as the propagation of light. I believe it is quite possible that the observed decrease in velocity of light over time might have begun when Satan fell.

It is certainly appropriate for Christians to reexamine the entire visible, created universe and look for evidences of the destructive work of Satan since his fall, as there is no doubt from scripture that the Evil One has wrought havoc not only in man and society, but also in nature. In league with Satan are a third of the angels he has succeeded in turning away from serving God.

We usually think of Satan as responsible for the fall of man, our present fallen, mortal state as children of Adam. We think of the devil as the tempter and the enemy of our souls. But in addition to these roles he seems to have had some important place as "prime minister" in God's government of the physical universe. The universe we now live in has been damaged by the fall of man and the angels---it is now a dying old creation, subject to the degenerative principle known in physics as the "Second Law of Thermodynamics." Biblically speaking this is referred to in Romans,
"I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies." (8:18-23)
This passage links the redemption of the believer's physical body with the unveiling of a whole new creation which God has already prepared for those who love him.

THAT ANCIENT SERPENT

Satan is given a number of titles and descriptors in the Bible. He is "the prince of this world (cosmos, the world system), "the prince of the power of the air," "the god of this age (aion), "the prince of demons." "the devil," "that ancient serpent," "the great red dragon," "the evil one," "the destroyer," "the tempter," "the accuser of the brethren," "the spirit that now works in the sons of disobedience," "a liar and a murderer from the beginning," "the deceiver."

Satan's actual power over the world can be seen in the offers he made to Jesus during the latter's 40 days' temptation in the wilderness, recorded in Matthew, Chapter 4. Satan is the ruler over fallen angels, (believed to number one-third of the angelic host according to Revelation 12:4). He is the opposer of God's Person; the counterfeiter of truth, "the deceiver of nations".

Everything Satan does he must do by direct permission of God, as the book of Job clearly shows, so it is not as if there were two warring gods, one good and the other evil, (a philosophy known as "dualism"). The devil is a defeated enemy, his evil plan and power were undone by the work of Jesus on the cross though we wait in our time for his final defeat and removal from the heavens and the earth, by Michael the Archangel.
If we look at circumstances around us it seems he is winning and gaining ground unchecked. If we open our Bibles, however, his defeat is spoken of repeatedly as an already accomplished fact. Christians have not need to fear the devil, although we are warned by Peter,

"Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil goes around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experience of suffering is required of your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, establish, and strengthen you." (1 Peter 5:8-10)

These notes on the angels are brief and sketchy---the reader is encouraged to become well acquainted with all of Scripture and to read classic Christian books on spiritual warfare and angelology to gain a better understanding of the role of good and fallen angels in creation.
Difficult though it is for us to grasp, the laws of physics are apparently not operative apart from the angels who are part of the management system of God's government of creation. Just how angelic activity affects events in the physical world is not known to science, nor is much revealed in the Bible.
Actual transfer of new energy from the spiritual dimension into the physical may not necessarily be involved most of the time when angels act---since such energy transfers would most likely appear to us to be violations of the laws of conservation of energy. Such violations do not occur as far as science can detect. Another way of stating this is to say that God works within the laws of nature which He has established and most of the time does not circumvent these laws. It goes without saying that the discussion of various types of miracles is a complex subject in theology.

WAR IN HEAVEN. SATAN WAS THROWN DOWN TO EARTH

Satan's last attempt to rule the universe and overthrow God and His kingdom occurs on earth, not in outer space. Scripture speaks of many antichrists who oppose Jesus and counterfeit His claims, but there is to be THE final Antichrist, the "man of sin" who will one day take charge of our world under one world government having full and economic controls.
As part of His plan, God has determined to allow evil to run its full course on earth. Antichrist is to be an incarnation of Satan so that he, the Evil One, will fully possess and indwell one unique man in history more than he has ever done before in history. [Those unfamiliar with the relevant scriptures should read Matthew 24-25, 2 Thessalonians 2, and Revelation 13, as well as the Book of Daniel].

Revelation 12 includes a description of the throwing down of the devil to earth in a yet-future time (as introduced above) which will result in the greatest conflagration our planet has ever seen. This last war, which will involve all of mankind and very nearly destroy the entire human race, will begin in space (i.e., in the heavenlies). It will be a gigantic, unprecedented event in the annals of angelic warfare. The battle is fought by the archangel Michael and his thousands of unfallen angels:

"And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman (Israel) clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; she was with child and she cried out in her pangs of birth, in anguish for delivery.
"And another portent appeared in heaven; behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems upon his heads. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bear a child, that he might devour her child when she brought it forth; she brought forth a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child (Jesus and His Body the church) was caught up to God and to his throne, and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which to be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.

"Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they were defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world---he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

"And I (John) 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 (Messiah) have come, for the accuser of the brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.

"Rejoice then, O heaven and you that dwell therein (the church)! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows his time is short!'
And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had borne the male child. But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time. The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with the flood.

But the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river which the dragon had poured from his mouth.
Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring (the believers who come out of the tribulation period), on those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus. (Revelation 12:7-17)

A VISION OF ISRAEL´S HISTORY

The above scriptures give us with a vision which has significance in the light of ancient, uncorrupted Hebrew astrology. Like many visionary, apocalyptic images in the Bible this picture is outside of time. The woman is the Virgin Mary and the child is Jesus. This passage of scripture suggests to us that one-third of the angels fell along with Satan and became instruments of evil. After sketching out in a few brief words the entire 2000-year history of ancient Israel, depicted as a woman crowned with 12 stars representing the 12 tribes, the vision moves swiftly from the birth of Jesus to His ascension into the heavenly places 40 days after His resurrection. Here notes that the rapture of the church is implied in this passage, because Jesus has joined himself to His body, the church, and where the Head of the church is, there the Body is also).

Revelation 12 continues to describe the plight of the woman in the end-times (yet to come) when the small faithful remnant of believing Israel is forced to flee to Petra in Jordan to survive the ravages of a Great World War which will center in Israel. There, in the wilderness east and south of Jerusalem, Jesus will return to this faithful remnant, then appear in power and glory to conclude the battle of Armageddon. Isaiah 63 describes this return of Jesus first to Edom and Revelation 19:11, His coming in open splendor before the entire world to save a remnant of mankind from total self-destruction and to restore our destroyed world.

THE COMING OF JESUS AND HIS ANGELS

The early campaigns of Armageddon will pit the armies of earth against one another. A great horde of troops from China, Japan and the Far East will evidently join in, according to the descriptions given us in the Book of Revelation. In the later stages (coinciding with the throwing down of Satan from space to earth by the archangel Michael), the war between men on earth will apparently become a united attempt to thwart the approaching space armies of Jesus. That is, human military and political leaders under Antichrist will unite to fight against Jesus returning to earth with His mighty armies of the heavenly hosts. Although the armies of the world meet on the Plains of Sharon (Esdraelon) in Israel to fight against one another, during the course of this terrible war their generals suddenly realize that this war is not really against one another but against the Lord of hosts and his armies:

He (Jesus') unique relationshi "And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who sits upon the horse and against his army." (Rev. 19:19)

Viewed from earth, the returning of Jesus to earth in a cloud of glory will no doubt be seen by the last generation of evil men as an invasion of "enemy aliens" from outer space. Earth's final leaders will be men who have been fully and successfully deceived by Satan. God is fallen man's ultimate enemy, and sad to say, most men hate God more than anyone else in the final analysis.

Another illustration of the different timing of events as seen in heaven compared to earth is seen in Luke 10:18; Jesus said, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven." This is a prophetic passage from our earthly point of view, but Jesus saw it as happening "now" in His frame of reference. As the "Great I AM", Jesus made a number of statements in the Gospel of John linking His oneness with Yahweh and p with the Father. In several instances, His perception that He was fully aware of eternity (as none of us are) while He was on earth are evident from the things He said.



THE LAST WAR

"And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who sits upon the horse and against his army." (Rev. 19:19)

Viewed from earth, the returning of Jesus to earth in a cloud of glory will no doubt be seen by the last generation of evil men as an invasion of "enemy aliens" from outer space. Earth's final leaders will be men who have been fully and successfully deceived by Satan. God is fallen man's ultimate enemy, and sad to say, most men hate God more than anyone else in the final analysis.

Another illustration of the different timing of events as seen in heaven compared to earth is seen in Luke 10:18; Jesus said, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven." This is a prophetic passage from our earthly point of view, but Jesus saw it as happening "now" in His frame of reference. As the "Great I AM", Jesus made a number of statements in the Gospel of John linking in oneness with God and He (Jesus') unique relationship with the Father. In several instances, His perception that He was fully aware of eternity (as none of us are) while He was on earth are evident from the things He said.

In several of the Old Testament battles (involving angels) in which God is said to participate directly, we find descriptions such as the throwing down of great 100-pound hailstones from heaven and rains of fire and brimstone (sulfur), from heaven.

An even more familiar passages is Isaiah 40:

"Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the LORD's hand double for all her sins.
A voice cries: 'In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain.

"And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.' A voice says, Cry! And I said, 'What shall I cry?' All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the LORD blows upon it;
surely the people is grass. The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand for ever. Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good tidings; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings, lift it up, fear not; say to the cities of Judah,
'Behold your God!' Behold, the Lord GOD comes with might, and his arm rules for him; behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. He will feed his flock like a shepherd, he will gather the lambs in his arms, he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.'" (40:1-11)

On the basis of what is said in scripture, it is quite likely that more frequent manifestations of angels will be common among men in coming days as our world continues to collapse and the heavenly places break through into our realm of space and time.
For example, the Book of the Revelation begins with a clear distinction between "things on earth" and "things in heaven"; but as the Revelation unfolds the invisible is made known to men on earth.
Those days will not be a time for fear, if (and only if) one's life is entrusted into the hand of the Great Shepherd, but they will be terrible indeed for all those who continue in their unbelief.
In the final days of this age we live in the unseen will break in upon mankind in overwhelming judgments against human evil, and against fallen angels. God's New World order, His New Creation will be, at last, an answer to the most often prayed prayer in the Bible,

"Pray then like this:

Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive those who trespass against us;
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from [the] evil [one]." (Matthew 6:9-13)

Concerning the end of our age, the prophet Joel has written,

"And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even upon the menservants and the maidservants, in those days, I will pour out my Spirit. And I will give portents in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. And it shall come to pass that all who call upon the name of the Lord shall be delivered..." (Joel 2:28-30)

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