|Jacobs Struggle with the Angel by Rembrandt
|Image: Bible Picture Gallery
The Greek for ‘spirit’ in Acts 23 is ‘pneuma’. This seems to convey a general
description of a spiritual entity. The Greek for ‘angel’ in Acts 23 is ‘aggelos’. This is a much more
specific representation of ‘one sent, a messenger, an angel’. The following Hebrew scripture would appear to confirm
this meaning of an angel (malak) as a messenger sent to mankind by God (for the moment ignoring the fact that this a very
particular type of angel - 'Jehovah's angel', which we cover a little further on in this paper):
7 Later Jehovah’s angel found her at a fountain of
waters in the wilderness, at the fountain on the way to Shur.
8 And he began to say: “Ha'gar,
maidservant of Sar'ai, just where have you come from and where are you going?” To this she said: “Why, from Sar'ai
my mistress I am running away.”
9 And Jehovah’s angel went on to say to her: “Return
to your mistress and humble yourself under her hand.”
10 Then Jehovah’s angel said to
her: “I shall greatly multiply your seed, so that it will not be numbered for multitude.”
Further Jehovah’s angel added to her: “Here you are pregnant, and you shall give birth to a son and must call
his name Ish'ma·el; for Jehovah has heard your affliction. (Genesis 16)
These messengers of God can also carry God’s power not just his words so they have been placed
in positions to guard, protect and defend God’s people on earth:
20 “Here I am sending an angel ahead of you to keep
you on the road and to bring you into the place that I have prepared.
21 Watch yourself because of
him and obey his voice. Do not behave rebelliously against him, for he will not pardon YOUR transgression; because my name
is within him.
22 However, if you strictly obey his voice and really do all that I shall speak, then
I shall certainly be hostile to your enemies and harass those who harass you.
23 For my angel will
go ahead of you and will indeed bring you to the Am'or·ites and the Hit'tites and the Per'iz·zites and the Ca'naan·ites, the
Hi'vites and the Jeb'u·sites, and I shall certainly efface them. (Exodus 23)
19 Then the angel of the [true] God who was going ahead
of the camp of Israel departed and went to their rear, and the pillar of cloud departed from their van and stood in the rear
of them. (Exodus 14)
31 And Jehovah proceeded to uncover Ba'laam’s eyes,
so that he saw Jehovah’s angel stationed in the road with his drawn sword in his hand. At once he bowed low and prostrated
himself on his face. (Numbers 22)
And the bringers of punishment from God upon his people:
16 And the angel kept his hand thrust out toward Jerusalem
to bring it to ruin; and Jehovah began to feel regret over the calamity, and so he said to the angel that was bringing ruin
among the people: “It is enough! Now let your hand drop.” And Jehovah’s (Yahweh) angel (malak) himself happened
to be close by the threshing floor of A·rau'nah the Jeb'u·site.
17 And David proceeded to say to Jehovah,
when he saw the angel that was striking the people down, yes, he proceeded to say: “Here it is I that have sinned and
it is I that have done wrong; but these sheep—what have they done? Let your hand, please, come upon me and upon the
house of my father.” (2 Samuel 24)
And in case it is not already obvious from the foregoing, they have a clear ability to interact
in a very direct way with our physical world and, oh yes, they live in heaven:
2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the
angel (aggelos) of the Lord (kurios) descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon
it. (Matthew 28)
Angel of Jehovah
2 Samuel 24 above seems to be deliberately
drawing a distinction between the term ‘the angel’ and ‘Jehovah’s angel’. It would appear that
the ‘angel’ is different from ‘Jehovah’s angel’ in these verses otherwise it is not clear to
this writer what the point was in mentioning the same individual angel with different designations and for no other apparent
reason. In this regard Exodus 23:20-23 is an interesting passage since it starts out by describing ‘an angel’
in verse 20. Verse 21 then goes on to describe Jehovah’s name being in the angel which could be indicative of Michael
as prospectively Jehovah's only begotten son. Verse 23 then goes on to describe him as ‘my (Jehovah’s) angel’.
This early scripture seems almost to be describing Michael’s progress from being just any old (young actually!) angel
to becoming Jehovah’s own and only son. If a correct interpretation this might perhaps indicate that whenever the expression
‘Jehovah’s angel’ is used that this is solely referring to his son Michael, albeit before he became a god?
Alternatively perhaps the book of Genesis is telling us that there are in fact two singleton Angels
of Jehovah. The following verse uses the phrase 'Jehovah God' in describing whose angel he is. The True Bible Code principle
of double designations could therefore be describing two such angels in the literal and the greater meanings:
7 Jehovah God (Heb. Elohim) of heaven, which took me from my father's house, and from the land of
my kindred, and which spake unto me, and that sware unto me, saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land; he shall send
his angel before thee, and thou shalt take a wife unto my son from thence. (Genesis 24)
So it seems that Michael may be well be the Angel of Jehovah but that there may also be another;
Angel(s) of God
The opening verse of the Book of Revelation would further indicate that God’s singleton angel
is none other than Jesus Christ aka Michael. Or does it? Revelation was written by John after Christ’s ascension into
divinity so it unlikely that Jehovah would then still have referred to Michael as his angel. He would, however, of Gabriel
who is still, presumably, an angel even to this day. So whilst Michael was the Word of Revelation from his father, the angel
by which it was sent to John may well have been Gabriel since we know of no other named angel of God:
1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God (Grk. theos) gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things
which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: (Revelation 1)
Genesis 28:12 (and John 1:51) refers to God’s angels in the plural:
12 And he began to dream, and, look! there was a ladder stationed upon the earth and its top reaching
up to the heavens; and, look! there were God’s (Heb. elohim) angels ascending and descending on it. (Genesis 28)
51 And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, the angels
of God (Grk. theos) ascending and descending upon the Son of man. (John 1)
So who are these
ones? A recently uncovered understanding from the Lords’ Witnesses has determined that these must be the saints, i.e.
the men who become angels and are Michael’s bride in the next system. The logic of this conclusion is derived from the
fact that these are the first fruits of God’s covenant with Jacob and the verse is set in the context of Jacob’s
covenant being made with God. Hebrews 1 would appear to confirm this view by differentiating between Michael, his brothers
the (heavenly) ‘angels’ with whom he is compared, and ‘ALL the angels of God’ who are described differently
from the heavenly ones and in the context of those that will worship him, i.e. those that follow him. This expression ‘ALL
the angels of God’ would seem to be describing a large number of angels and could therefore be applied to the 144,000
angels that make up the number of Michael’s bride, the saints. It would likely not be applied to Jehovah’s wife
since it is unlikely that Jehovah would ask his own wife to worship his son as a god:
Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to
him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?
6 And again, when he bringeth in the first begotten
into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God (Grk. theos) worship him. (Hebrews 1)
case we needed further evidence, Genesis 32 makes it very clear that the plural 'angels of God' represents a host of angels:
1 And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God (Heb. elohim) met him.
2 And when Jacob saw
them, he said, This is God's (Heb. elohim) host: and he called the name of that place Mahanaim. (Genesis 32)
A host is an army so this could well be 144,000 angels but could not have been just two for example. So it appears
that an ‘Angel of God’ is a single named one: Gabriel or Michael perhaps, whereas the plural ‘Angels of
God’ refer to the Saints.
As a brief aside it also appears that God equated
King David with his angels, no doubt in terms of the authority that was given him over his people and the power over his enemies.
Whilst this likeness is described in both the following scriptures by somewhat dubious characters, it can be assumed that
God’s word would not have been written in this way if it did not signal the reality of David’s status in God’s
eyes. Being described in this way as a singleton angel of God he is being equated to the level of Michael or Gabriel rather
than a saint which must be unprecedented amongst mankind:
27 And he hath slandered
thy servant unto my lord the king; but my lord the king is as an angel of God (Heb. elohim) : do therefore what is good in
thine eyes. (2Samuel 19)
9 And Achish answered and said to David, I know that thou art good
in my sight, as an angel of God (Heb. elohim): notwithstanding the princes of the Philistines have said, He shall not go up
with us to the battle. (1Samuel 29)
So this piece of the jigsaw is telling us that Gabriel is probably God’s Angel and that the
Angels of God plural are the Saints.
Now a further reading of scripture reveals the designation ‘holy angel’:
22 And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among
all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by a holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee.
However earlier in this chapter regarding this self same angel we read:
3 He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God (Grk. theos) coming in
to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. (Acts 10)
So these two verses taken together would
appear to equate a ‘holy angel’ with an ‘angel of God’ and therefore perhaps Michael or Gabriel as
singleton angels since they are distinguished from the Saints who are described in the plural ‘angels of God’.
The plural term 'Holy Angels' is also used in scripture:
26 For whosoever shall
be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his
Father's, and of the holy angels. (Luke 9)
38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed
of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh
in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. (Mark 8)
Previously we determined that the
singleton Holy Angel may be Michael or Gabriel. So again we are faced with distinguishing between the singular and the plural
of a designation of angel. In both singular and plural it would appear that the designation ‘Holy Angel’
is to be equated with ‘Angel of God’. These parallel accounts seem to be very ambiguous in that it could easily
be inferred that the plural designations are referring either to the Saints or the Holy Spirit. So in the greater symbolic
meanings to these verses it will likely mean both and perhaps it means both in the literal meaning. So the Holy Angels in
the plural could comprise those angels that make up the Holy Spirit and/or the Saints. Matthew 25 adds further ambiguity by
foregoing the adjective ‘Holy’ in Matthew’s parallel account in the gospels although it does add the designation
‘all’ confirming a large body of angels:
31 “When the Son of man
arrives in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit down on his glorious throne. (Matthew 25)
Revelation provides no further clues in determining who exactly the Holy Angels are; again it could be the Holy
Spirit, the Saints or probably both:
10 The same shall drink of the wine of
the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire
and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: (Revelation 14)
on balance, these scriptures appear to be referring to a group of angels arriving with the Son of Man and so are most likely
indicating these are the saints in the literal translation.
So in this section we have determined that a Holy Angel is an Angel of God and that Holy Angels in
the plural are the Saints.
Angel of the Lord
The Angel of the Lord is named as Gabriel in Luke 1:
And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord (Grk. kurios) standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
19 And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent
to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. (Luke 1)
A further interesting
New Testament designation of ‘angel of the Lord (Greek: kurios)’ appears in Acts 8. Later on in the account this
same individual is referred to as a ‘spirit’. Now a spirit would normally refer to a disembodied individual angelic
being. Since Jehovah God’s wife is the Holy ‘Spirit’, it might not be unreasonable to suppose that
this passage is indicating that this individual angel was actually a member of the Holy Spirit separated (or disembodied)
from his holy brethren. Alternatively it may be confirming that the major component of the angelic soul of Gabriel or (perhaps)
Michael is his spirit:
26 And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying,
Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.
And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians,
who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,
returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.
29 Then the Spirit said unto
Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. (Acts 8)
So this section tells us that
Gabriel is definitively an Angel of The Lord.
Holy Angel, Angel of Jehovah, God and the Lord
already examined Hebrews 1:6 what does the next verse in Hebrews mean?
7 And of the
angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. (Hebrews 1)
is, itself, a reprise from the Old Testament book of Psalms:
4 Who maketh his
angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire: (Psalms 104)
This seems further to add to the
distinction between God’s pre-eminent angels in comparison with the rest of the angelic host. As suggested earlier God
has the capability of removing angelic spirits from angelic bodies for specific purposes. The reference to the flame of fire
could, for example refer to the Angel of Jehovah/God manifested in the burning bush of Exodus:
And the angel of Jehovah appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the
bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. (Exodus 3)
30 And when forty
years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sina an angel of the Lord (Grk. kurios) in a flame of
fire in a bush. (Acts 7)
So it appears that an Angel of Jehovah in the Hebrew scriptures
equates to an Angel of the Lord in the Greek scriptures and these singleton angels are also referred to as God’s
ministers or his chief angels within the heavenly hierarchy. Exodus and Acts, however, both describe a singleton Angel of
God so these ministers can only be Gabriel or perhaps Michael.
Let us go on to examine
3 And the angel of Jehovah appeared unto the woman, and said unto
her, Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son.
Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, A man of God came unto me, and his countenance was like the countenance
of an angel of God, very terrible: but I asked him not whence he was, neither told he me his name:
And God hearkened to the voice of Manoah; and the angel of God (Elohim) came again unto the woman as she sat in the field:
but Manoah her husband was not with her.
13 And the angel of Jehovah said unto Manoah, Of all
that I said unto the woman let her beware.
17 And Manoah said unto the angel of Jehovah What
is thy name, that when thy sayings come to pass we may do thee honour?
18 And the angel of Jehovah
said unto him, Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret?
20 For it came to pass,
when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, that the angel of Jehovah ascended in the flame of the altar. And
Manoah and his wife looked on it, and fell on their faces to the ground. (Judges 13)
above verses from the same account in Judges tell us two things (at least!).
they equate Angel of God with Angel of Jehovah, so they are one and the same entity, i.e. Gabriel and/or perhaps Michael in
our current understanding. Although quite why the angel declared his name secret is strange. Certainly Daniel was aware of
the names of both of the pre-eminent Angels but perhaps to those mortals not chosen of God their names are not revealed. After
all today there are very few churches that would recognise that Jesus Christ was none other than Michael the Archangel.
Secondly these verses again associate these angels with fire and so equate them as God's ministers.
As far as the equating of 'Angel of God' with 'Angel of Jehovah' is concerned, it is not clear
why two different titles (and more) would denote the same angel unless there is a scripture lurking somewhere that distinguishes
between the two? However one thought occurs to the writer: Since Jehovah gave Michael his name perhaps he, Michael, is
the Angel of Jehovah leaving Gabriel to be the Angel of God? What then of the Angel of the Lord in the New Testament? This
looks like my next task in preparing the next version of this paper! Confusingly, however, there are several New Testament
scriptures which suggest that the description 'Angel of God' refers explicitly to Michael although we must remember
that there is no New Testament equivalent of the Hebrew for Jehovah:
For there stood by me this night the angel of God (Grk. theos), whose I am, and whom I serve, (Acts 27)
14 And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel
of God (Grk. theos), even as Christ Jesus. (Galatians 4)
So in this section we have learned much:
- An Angel of the Lord is an Angel of Jehovah.
- An Angel of God is an Angel of Jehovah.
- The Angel of God is Michael.
Therefore Michael and Gabriel can be each of these designations. But we perhaps need to understand
why they are not specific in each case. Why would God use four different angelic designations (including ‘Holy Angel’)
indiscriminently to describe two different named individual angels when the Lords’ Witnesses already recognise the power
of God’s word? Yes I definitely feel version 2 of this paper is required but I suspect this will take significantly
more pain-taking research of the scriptures.
Spirits of God
But what of the other angels, the ‘disembodied’ spirits who seem to be angels that affect
men’s thoughts and words:
23 And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took a harp,
and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him. (1Samuel 16)
15 Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up:
It stood still, but I could not discern the form thereof: an image was before mine eyes, there was silence, and I heard a
17 Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his
maker? (Job 4)
21 And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him.
22 And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying
spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so. (1Kings
For a spirit to stand in front of the Lord in the heavenly context suggests that this spirit was,
in fact, a regular angel with a regular angelic body but with the role of operating in the world without a physically manifest
form. Christ’s offer for the apostles to handle his resurrected form would appear to confirm this understanding:
39 Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath
not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. (Luke 24)
Later in Hebrews1 it appears that all angels are grouped together as being essentially the same,
i.e. as brothers, but clearly not ‘adopted’ in the way that Michael was:
13 But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine
enemies thy footstool?
14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister
for them who shall be heirs of salvation? (Hebrews 1)
Presumably this all-encompassing sameness comprised Gabriel, Michael and the 144,000 angels making
up the Holy Spirit as well as all the other ‘sons of God’. In essence the same ‘species’ but clearly
individuals have different categories of work to do in God’s heavenly organisation. The term ‘ministering spirits’
here should not be confused with ‘ministers’ from the earlier verse in Hebrews discussed previously. Ministering
spirits here must refer to the common stock of angels that are all called upon to carry out God’s requests to support
faithful mankind. This calling of angels being in much the same way as prophets, judges and kings were chosen by God and differentiated
for specific purposes from the common stock of mankind. No doubt due to their innate heart condition and talents.
But what of the demons? The Old Testament book of Judges would seem to throw some light on their
23 Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem
dealt treacherously with Abimelech: (Judges 9)
So it seems as if even the demons are ‘ministering spirits’ doing God’s work. Perhaps
they will get early parole from Gehenna for doing God’s bidding although He clearly uses them for doing his less choice
jobs for which they are probably very well qualified. However it would seem yet again that demons are also of the common angelic
Other Angelic Forms
So far we have angels, angels of God, spirits (good and evil) and ministers. The obvious question
is: ‘Do the scriptures identify any other angelic forms?’ The answer is clearly ‘Yes.’ These other
forms comprise cherubim, seraphim, archangel and demon (no meaning is intended in the sequence in which I present these).
Let us examine each of these in turn.
Cherubim can act as guards or sentries but it is not precisely clear from this that they are actually
angels or whether they are lower level spirit creatures in this case akin to a guard dog perhaps? After all the flaming sword
would appear to have done a pretty good job of protecting the entrance to the Garden of Eden all by itself:
24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims,
and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. (Genesis 3)
Exodus tells us a little more about cherubim; they each have wings and a face so they are beginning
to seem a little more like the popular imagery of angels:
7 And he made two cherubims of gold, beaten out of one piece made he them, on the two ends
of the mercy seat;
8 One cherub on the end on this side, and another cherub on the other
end on that side: out of the mercy seat made he the cherubims on the two ends thereof.
the cherubims spread out their wings on high, and covered with their wings over the mercy seat, with their faces one to another;
even to the mercy seatward were the faces of the cherubims. (Exodus 37)
Samuel tells us that a Cherub’s wings are not just ornamental but are actually used, as we
might expect, for flight. However, in this scripture, it appears that the Lord rode upon the Cherub: so is it an angel, a
son of God, or is it a lower level spirit creature, a beast of burden akin to an earthly horse? It hardly seems likely that
the Father would ride on the back of his sons. The fact that it is described as a spirit does not necessarily determine this
question either way since we have established in a separate paper that animals have (lower order) spirits also:
10 He bowed the heavens also, and came down; and darkness was under his feet.
And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: and he was seen upon the wings of the wind (Heb. Ruach = spirit) (2Samual 22)
Whilst I would not wish to make too much of the following scripture, it does identify Cherubim residing
with two types of earthly animal in some of the art work contained in the temple. Could this be confirming that Cherubim are
also a form of (heavenly) animal rather than sons of God?
29 And on the borders that were between the ledges were lions, oxen, and cherubims: and upon
the ledges there was a base above: and beneath the lions and oxen were certain additions made of thin work. (1Kings 7)
1Chronicles talks about a chariot of the Cherubim. If the word ‘chariot’ truly has the
normal English meaning in this passage, then it is looking very convincing that Cherubim are spiritual domesticated animals
rather than the traditional view of their being angels:
18 And for the altar of incense refined gold by weight; and gold for the pattern of the chariot
of the cherubims, that spread out their wings, and covered the ark of the covenant of the LORD. (1Chronicles 28)
And cherubim have feet as well as wings and a face:
13 The wings of these cherubims spread themselves forth twenty cubits: and they stood on their
feet, and their faces were inward. (2Chronicles 3)
Whilst, at this stage, avoiding the decoding of Ezekiel as far as his exposition on Cherubim is concerned,
it is worth making the point that Cherubim appear to have four wings with hands under their wings (we will ignore the four
faces for the moment):
21 As for the four, [each] one had four faces and [each] one had four wings, and the likeness of
the hands of earthling man was under their wings. (Ezekiel 10)
From this description pterodactyls (meaning winged finger) and bats come to mind as far as having
hands/claws under their wings. Identifying animals with four wings, however, is more difficult, although bats do appear to
have tail wings as well as their statutory pair of main wings. The dragonfly or mantis has four wings, the latter using its
front two legs as arms to grasp things (or pray!) rather than walk. So we may be left with the inescapable conclusion that
these creatures cannot be characterised by any one earthly species with which we are familiar but may represent an amalgam
of several earthly species. Indeed why should they not? I can think of no obvious reason why God would create a heavenly species
to appear exactly the same as an earthly species. More on this later.
Now the Cherub described in the following verses is Satan so it looks as if Cherubs may be pretty
important angels, so why do the earlier scriptures portray Cherubim as rather less important spirit creatures. Could this
be that if God only refers to one named angel, Satan, as a Cherub then perhaps God is referring to him as no more than a (guard)
dog or beast of burden perhaps to show his disdain for his wayward son?
13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius,
topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship
of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.
art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up
and down in the midst of the stones of fire.
15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that
thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.
16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they
have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain
of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. (Ezekiel 28)
Elsewhere in Ezekiel, specifically in Chapter 10, we have a singleton cherub differentiated from
7 Then the cherub thrust his hand out from between the cherubs to the fire that was between the cherubs
and carried and put [it] into the hollows of the hands of the one clothed with the linen, who now took [it] and went out.
It is interesting to compare this with the view expressed earlier in this paper regarding the singleton
and plural Angels of God. Is this confirming that where angelic or spiritual creatures are differentiated between the singular
and the plural that they take on different meanings or classifications?
In supporting this particular thought further, Scripture explicitly describes the cherub Satan as
a dragon and a serpent. Revelation also describes Satan having an army of angels but interestingly no longer describes Satan
himself as an angel. I think this is all further evidence that cherubs are not angels:
7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon
fought and his angels,
8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth
the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (Revelation 12)
It is more than a little interesting to note the Watchtower’s view of the nature of Cherubim
from their Insight book, and I quote from Page 432:
‘These were not grotesque figures fashioned after the monstrous winged images worshiped by
pagan nations round about, as some contend. According to the unanimous testimony of ancient Jewish tradition [the Bible is silent on this matter], these cherubs had human form.’
You may have noted that I have marked the key statement in red block text. It seems that the Watchtower
is prepared to accept ‘ancient Jewish tradition’ on a significant facet of cherubic nature that is conspicuously
absent from scripture. Well as a physical Jew I am more than prepared to put God’s holy word before ancient Jewish tradition.
On reading this I am now totally convinced that Cherubim are not angelic at all but are ‘domesticated’ heavenly
spirit creatures that have been ‘trained’ to do God’s bidding.
Whilst not wishing to fall into the same trap as the Watchtower by putting legend before Scripture
it is interesting to recall, from the verses of Revelation referenced above, that if a cherub, Satan, can be described as
a dragon and a serpent then perhaps it is not too far fetched to consider that some other legendary or mythical creatures
might bear some resemblance to the physical appearance of a cherub. After all if mankind has seen the images of these creatures
at some in his history it is not inconceivable that some truth is hidden in these myths.
Some mythical creatures that immediately come to mind include the gryphon, the Sphinx, the Minotaur
and the Assyrian flying bull. Each of these has at least one of the physical attributes ascribed to cherubim in scripture.
Interestingly no legendary or actual existing or pre-historic creature appears to have all those
attributes. Since Satan is described as both dragon and serpent he could not have been both at the same time so perhaps these
cherubim are in fact shape-shifters that can morph between a repertoire of different capabilities. After all we have likened
them to both guards and beasts of burden which would each require a very different set of capabilities. The gryphon looks
liked a fearsome guard that one would not wish to meet on a dark night outside the east gate of Eden whilst the Assyrian flying
bull looks like a rather avuncular creature that one would not mind hitching a ride on the back of. Much fanciful thinking
here perhaps but why would the Bible refer to a dragon which can only be a mythical creature or perhaps a form of dinosaur
which would have died out long before man’s existence on the earth?
The reader should at this point beware. The writer should point out that the above notions of the
nature of cherubim do not match with two of the Lords' Witness understandings. The first of those understandings indicate
that the cherubim guarding the east gate of Eden were Michael and Gabriel: http://www.truebiblecode.com/understanding251.html. The second understanding proposes that the two cherubim sitting upon the ark of the covenant were Gabriel and Melchizedek:
http://www.truebiblecode.com/understanding7.html. The writer does not necessarily dispute these understandings but would contend that they are greater symbolic meanings
of the relevant scriptures as determined through the bible code and that the literal meaning of a cherub is as indicated
in the above material. I leave it to the reader to determine for himself his own interpretation of this and may the Holy Spirit
guide you in that endeavour.
The only mention that Seraphim get in the whole of scripture is in Isaiah 6 and in that one chapter
it is clear that not only do they have six wings (compared with Cherubs’ four therefore making them different species
- see below) but they also speak and can bring forgiveness from sins. In all the references to Cherubs there is no reference
to Cherubs being capable of doing either. So this would confirm that whilst Seraphim appear to be important angels in God’s
hierarchy, Cherubim are arguably not angelic at all when compared with the scripturally declared attributes of the Seraphim:
2 Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and
with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.
3 And one cried unto another, and
said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.
4 And the
posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.
Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean
lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.
6 Then flew one of the seraphims
unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:
And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.
For once I find myself in complete agreement with the Watchtower entry in the Insight book for Archangel.
The prefix “arch,” meaning “chief” or “principal,” implies that there is only one archangel,
the chief angel; in the Scriptures, “archangel” is never found in the plural. There are only two scriptures
that refer to ‘the’ Archangel:
16 because the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel’s
voice and with God’s trumpet, and those who are dead in union with Christ will rise first. (1 Thessalonians 4)
9 But when Michael the archangel had a difference with the Devil and was disputing about Moses’
body, he did not dare to bring a judgment against him in abusive terms, but said: “May Jehovah rebuke you.” (Jude)
First Thessalonians 4:16, in speaking of the pre-eminence of the archangel and the authority of his
office, does so in reference to the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ. It is, therefore, not without significance that the only
name directly associated with the word “archangel” is Michael. So the one and only chief angel is Michael aka
So finally we come to the term ‘demon’. The term demon is used very infrequently in the
Old Testament Scriptures, once in Deuteronomy and once in the Book of Psalms:
17 They went sacrificing to demons (Heb. shade), not to God, Gods whom they had not known, New ones
who recently came in, With whom YOUR forefathers were not acquainted. (Deuteronomy 32)
37 And they would sacrifice their sons And their daughters to demons (Heb. shade). (Psalm 106)
So the only references to ’demons’ in the Old Testament Scriptures are regarding unrighteous
sacrifices. What does the New Testament have to say about this definition of ‘demons’?
20 No; but I say that the things which the nations sacrifice they sacrifice to demons (Grk.
daimonion), and not to God; and I do not want YOU to become sharers with the demons (Grk. daimonion). (1 Corinthians 10)
So the unrighteous sacrificial theme is continued in the New Testament. But what exactly are ‘demons’?
The New Testament throws further light on this:
16 But after it became evening, people brought him many demon-possessed (Grk. daimonizomai) persons;
and he expelled the spirits (Grk. pneuma) with a word, and he cured all who were faring badly; (Matthew 8)
So Matthew is confirming that demons possessed people in New Testament times and that the element
of the demons that actually entered into men’s souls was their spirits. This suggests that they also had bodies which
they presumably were able to exit for purposes of human possession. Revelation 16 would appear to state this unequivocally
in the literal interpretation despite being symbolic; this needs to be considered in the context of the section on Unclean
Spirits appearing later in this understanding:
13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out
of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.
14 For they are the spirits
(Grk. pneuma) of demons (Grk. daimonion), working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world,
to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. (Revelation 16)
The following two scriptures identify first Beelzebub and then his alternate designation, Satan,
as the ruler of the demons:
24 At hearing this, the Pharisees said: “This fellow does not expel the demons except by means
of Be·el'ze·bub, the ruler of the demons.” (Matthew 12)
18 So if Satan is also divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? Because YOU say I expel
the demons by means of Be·el'ze·bub. (Luke 11)
The final piece of this jigsaw is to be found in Revelation. In Chapter 12 ‘Satan’ is
designated as the ‘Devil’ who is therefore also Beelzebub and is one and the same demonic leader. The demons over
who he rules are no other than fellow angels under his leadership:
9 So down the great
dragon was hurled, the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth; he
was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him. (Revelation 12)
So again we have identified that there is a class of angels called demons, this class having earned
their classification by taking their leadership from Satan not Jehovah and ‘illegally’ manifesting themselves
through unrighteous possession of mankind in New Testament times.
Analysis of Demonic Spirits
There appear to be several different descriptions of demonic spirits in Scripture: evil, lying, familiar,
unclean, foul, dumb. It is not immediately clear if these are all different ways of describing similar types of demon or whether
they actually represent different kinds or ‘sub-classes’ of demonic spirit. Let us start to examine the Scriptures
to see if they give us any clues for this analysis.
As we observed earlier in this paper, God appeared to use the natural unrighteous behaviour of evil
spirits to achieve his purposes in Old Testament times. The Book of Judges provides just one example among many such Old Testament
23 Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of
Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech: (Judges 9)
It is not obvious to the writer what the evil spirit gained from obeying God’s requirements
of him. Perhaps he just had no choice on pain of a long term in Gehenna or perhaps he just plain enjoyed doing the mischief
that God requested of him.
Then we have the case of the spirit taken from the heavenly host with the specialist unrighteous
characteristic of lying:
18 Again he said, Therefore hear the word of the LORD; I saw the LORD sitting upon his throne,
and all the host of heaven standing on his right hand and on his left.
19 And the LORD said,
Who shall entice Ahab king of Israel, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead? And one spoke saying after this manner,
and another saying after that manner.
20 Then there came out a spirit, and stood before the
LORD, and said, I will entice him. And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith?
21 And he said, I
will go out, and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And the LORD said, Thou shalt entice him, and thou shalt
also prevail: go out, and do even so.
22 Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit
in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil against thee. (2Chronicles 18)
In our understandings how does a spirit stand since a spirit needs a body in which to stand? Well
one explanation might be that since God required an evil spirit to do his bidding, that spirit was released from Tartarus
to carry out God’s task. His reward perhaps for offering to assist God’s plan was the return of his angelic body
to enable him to become part of God’s heavenly host once again. It may be that this was not a very evil spirit but one
that just had a propensity for lying. Whilst not a pleasant trait it is perhaps rather less severe than not loving God or
committing murder which perhaps separates this lying spirit from his evil brother described in the previous section.
First of all we need to understand just what a familiar spirit might be. The First Book of Chronicles
gives us a clear statement on this:
13 So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the LORD, even against the
word of the LORD, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to inquire of it;
14 And inquired not of the LORD: therefore he slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse.
So they would seem to be evil spirits which somehow have been allowed by God to enter into dialogue
with individual humans on a one-to-one basis to provide apparently dubious spiritual guidance. However, spiritual guidance
from an evil spirit instead of seeking advice from God is clearly not a good thing to do in God’s eyes. Interestingly
familiar spirits only seem to be a phenomenon of the Old Testament. This may be that once we enter New Testament times evil
spirits have been given the ability to directly possess humans so that the Holy Spirit and Jesus could demonstrate the ability
to expel the demons from the possessed ones. Direct possession would clearly remove the demonic need for familiars. However, the Saints have not been on the earth for nearly 2,000 years (although the Lords’ Witnesses understand
they will be resurrected shortly) so I expect that reports of at least some spirit mediums are genuine to this day. I would
not wish to suggest they are all charlatans so let the reader beware!
It is noteworthy that the term ‘unclean spirit’ only appears once in the Old Testament:
1 In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants
of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.
2 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the
LORD of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered: and also
I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land. (Zechariah 13)
‘That day’ in Zechariah likely refers to the period following God’s provision of
a baptism of forgiveness and cleanliness and therefore portends the future period in which unclean spirits would possess and
be expelled from humans. So possession by unclean spirits was not a phenomenon in Old Testament times but the Old Testament
provides a single prophecy that this would become a phenomenon in times ahead. True to God’s word such possessions are
well documented in the New Testament Scriptures:
1 And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits,
to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. (Matthew 10)
17 And he came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and
a great multitude of people out of all Judea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him,
and to be healed of their diseases;
18 And they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they
were healed. (Luke 6)
So these unclean spirits appear to have had the specialist capability of behaving like viruses and
unfriendly bacteria in the human body. Perhaps they were the demons that actually created these small but dangerous life-forms
in the first instance. But not only physical malignancies but also damage to man’s psyche
in the form of abnormal behaviour or madness:
2 And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with
an unclean spirit,
3 Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not
4 Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains
had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him.
And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. (Mark 5)
Also the Scriptures provide us with further evidence that these unclean spirits are from a sub-class
of demonic or unrighteous angelic souls as described previously:
33 Now in the synagogue there was a man with a spirit, an unclean demon, and he shouted with a loud
voice (Luke 4)
Referring to the earlier observation that unclean spirits only seem to be manifest in New Testament
times we should give some consideration to Satan’s interactions with Job in the Old Testament:
6 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.
So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.
So it would appear that even in Old Testament times it was possible for none other than the Prince
of the demons to cause physical sickness in mankind like any old unclean spirit albeit through means presumably other than
by possession and only with the express permission of Jehovah God.
A deaf and dumb spirit is referred to as a foul spirit in the Gospel of Mark. With one exception
in the Book of Revelation, which we will come to shortly, Mark is the only Book in which these terms are used:
17 And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which
hath a dumb spirit; (Mark 9)
25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying
unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. (Mark 9)
Now whilst a deaf and dumb spirit is clearly not a particularly pleasant chap, one is left wondering
why it would also be so harshly referred to as ‘foul’ since, arguably, deafness and dumbness are not the worst
conditions that evil spirits visited on mankind. The clue, perhaps, resides in Revelation:
2 And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen,
and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. (Revelation
Foul spirits are clearly associated as having a major influence on Babylon the Great, the major false
religions in the understandings of the Lords’ Witnesses. Could it be that these spirits caused the false priesthoods
of Babylon the Great to be deaf to the word of God and dumb to giving the true Word to their congregations through the ages?
If so then it can be understood why the deaf and dumb spirit is so harshly considered in Mark’s Gospel. In corrupting
the church these spirits are undoubtedly one of the highest scorers in God’s scale of unrighteousness
- Angels generally are God’s servants who act as messengers, protectors and defenders of God’s
people on earth and who are enabled to interact with the physical world in which mankind dwells.
- The singleton titles ‘Jehovah’s Angel’, ‘Angel of God’, ‘Holy
Angel’ appears to refer solely to the angelic mediators of God’s main covenants with man, namely Michael
- The plural ‘Angels of God’, however, refers to the Saints. This is the first of several
similar conclusions whereby it appears that angelic or other spiritual creatures take on different designations depending
on whether the term appears in the singular or the plural. So in like fashion the plural ‘Holy
Angels’ refers to the Saints.
- All angels, including the demons and Michael, are from a common stock of souls which comprise angelic
bodies and spirits and which have different callings and roles in God’s hierarchy.
- Amazingly to the writer, the plural cherubim are not angels at all but domesticated spirit creatures
that are trained to do God’s bidding. The only instance in scripture where the term cherub is directly applied to an
angel is reserved for Satan. The reader can draw his own conclusions.
- Seraphim are important angels in God’s heavenly hierarchy. They have six wings compared with
Cherubims’ four so are clearly a different species further confirming that Cherubim are not angels.
- There is only one Archangel, the chief among angels and none other than Michael aka Jesus Christ.
- There are several different designations of demonic spirit, each of which has a its own evil characteristic
which defines his stock in trade.
|Ark Covered by the Wings of Two Cherubim
|Image: Bible Picture Gallery