You would no doubt have gathered from the foregoing paper that the really exciting aspect for the reader was to discover that cherubs do not appear to be angels at all but some lower form of spiritual creatures, i.e. they are not sons of God. This was not in the writer’s contemplation at all when I started researching this paper.
I refer to this unfinished section as 'Ezekiel’s Sandpit' since that prophet had some very symbolic things to say about cherubs which the reader is frankly struggling to comprehend either in the event symbolism or greater meanings. It could be that a full understanding at that level could invalidate this whole paper but such is the nature of true bible research that the LWs are not afraid to progress their knowledge even if it involves disproving their own current pet theories in striving for God’s true word. There are not too many other churches that I can think of that put truth before their current doctrine!
So this sandpit is still work in progress and is described as such since it is the writer's play area devoted to Ezekiel's cherubic writings. If the reader wishes to contribute to his or her interpretation I should be very pleased to hear your ideas. Meanwhile I will continue working with my LW brothers on their interpretation using the LW bible decoding techniques and experience. However while I do not profess to understand the meanings of Ezekiel 1 and 10, pretty much all the evidence I have seen in these cryptic chapters thus far continues to suggest that Cherubim are spirit creatures and are not angels:
1 Now it came about in the thirtieth year, in the fourth [month], on the fifth [day] of the month, while I was in the midst of the exiled people by the river Che'bar, that the heavens were opened and I began to see visions of God.
2 On the fifth [day] of the month, that is, [in] the fifth year of the exile of King Je·hoi'a·chin,
3 the word of Jehovah occurred specifically to Ezekiel the son of Bu'zi the priest in the land of the Chal·de'ans by the river Che'bar, and upon him in that place the hand of Jehovah came to be.
4 And I began to see, and, look! there was a tempestuous wind coming from the north, a great cloud mass and quivering fire, and it had a brightness all around, and out of the midst of it there was something like the look of electrum, out of the midst of the fire.
5 And out of the midst of it there was the likeness of four living creatures, [cf. four cherubs] and this was how they looked: they had the likeness of earthling man.
6 And [each] one had four faces, and [each] one of them four wings.
7 And their feet were straight feet, and the sole of their feet was like the sole of the foot of a calf; [a cloven hoof such as a bull would have] and they were gleaming as with the glow of burnished copper.
8 And there were the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides, and the four of them had their faces and their wings.
9 Their wings were joining one to the other. They would not turn when they went; they would go each one straight forward.
10 And as for the likeness of their faces, the four of them had a man’s face with a lion’s face to the right, and the four of them had a bull’s face on the left; the four of them also had an eagle’s face. [Compare this with v.14 from Chapter 10: '14 And [each] one had four faces. The first face was the face of the cherub, and the second face was the face of earthling man, and the third was the face of a lion, and the fourth was the face of an eagle.' This is beginning to look as if a cherub’s face is the same as a bulls’ face. This makes it even more likely that a cherub is a domesticated spirit creature rather than a son of God.]
11 That is the way their faces were. And their wings were spreading out upward. Each one had two joining to each other, and two were covering their bodies.
12 And they would go each one straight forward. To wherever the spirit would incline to go, they would go. They would not turn as they went.
13 And as for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire. Something like the appearance of torches was moving back and forth between the living creatures, and the fire was bright, and out of the fire there was lightning going forth.
14 And on the part of the living creatures there was a going forth and a returning as with the appearance of the lightning.
15 As I kept seeing the living creatures, why, look! there was one wheel on the earth beside the living creatures, by the four faces of each.
16 As for the appearance of the wheels and their structure, it was like the glow of chrys'o·lite; and the four of them had one likeness. And their appearance and their structure were just as when a wheel proved to be in the midst of a wheel.
17 When they went they would go on their four respective sides. They would not turn another way when they went.
18 And as for their rims, they had such height that they caused fearfulness; and their rims were full of eyes all around the four of them.
19 And when the living creatures went, the wheels would go beside them, and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels would be lifted up.
20 Wherever the spirit inclined to go, they would go, the spirit [inclining] to go there; and the wheels themselves would be lifted up close alongside them, for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels.
21 When they went, these would go; and when they stood still, these would stand still; and when they were lifted up from the earth, the wheels would be lifted up close alongside them, for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels.
22 And over the heads of the living creatures there was the likeness of an expanse like the sparkle of awesome ice, stretched out over their heads up above.
23 And under the expanse their wings were straight, one to the other. Each one had two wings covering on this side and each one had two covering on that side their bodies.
24 And I got to hear the sound of their wings, a sound like that of vast waters, like the sound of the Almighty One, when they went, the sound of a tumult, like the sound of an encampment. When they stood still, they would let their wings down.
25 And there came to be a voice above the expanse that was over their head. (When they stood still, they would let their wings down.)
26 And above the expanse that was over their head there was something in appearance like sapphire stone, the likeness of a throne. And upon the likeness of the throne there was a likeness of someone in appearance like an earthling man upon it, up above.
27 And I got to see something like the glow of electrum, like the appearance of fire all around inside thereof, from the appearance of his hips and upward; and from the appearance of his hips and downward I saw something like the appearance of fire, and he had a brightness all around.
28 There was something like the appearance of the bow that occurs in a cloud mass on the day of a pouring rain. That is how the appearance was of the brightness round about. It was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of Jehovah. When I got to see [it], then I fell upon my face, and I began to hear the voice of one speaking. (Ezekiel 1)
3 And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house. And he called to the man clothed with linen, which had the writer's inkhorn by his side; (Ezekiel 9)
1 And I continued to see, and, look! upon the expanse that was over the head of the cherubs there was something like sapphire stone, like the appearance of the likeness of a throne, appearing above them.
2 And he [Jehovah God] proceeded to say to the man clothed with the linen, [Probably Jesus] even to say: “Enter in between the wheelwork, [The wheels of God’s chariot?] in under the cherubs, and fill the hollows of both your hands with coals of fire from between the cherubs and toss [them] over the city." [Hot coals seem to be a means of cleansing man from sin.] So he entered in before my eyes.
3 And the cherubs were standing to the right of the house when the man entered, and the cloud was filling the inner courtyard.
4 And the glory of Jehovah proceeded to rise up from the cherubs to the threshold of the house, and the house gradually became filled with the cloud, and the courtyard itself was full of the brightness of the glory of Jehovah.
5 And the very sound of the wings of the cherubs made itself heard to the outer courtyard, like the sound of God Almighty when he speaks.
6 And it came about, when he commanded the man clothed with the linen, saying: “Take fire from between the wheelwork, from between the cherubs,” that he proceeded to enter and stand beside the wheel.
7 Then the cherub [This cherub is different from the other cherubs and appears to be intelligent judging from his actions. I am beginning to think that a singular cherub in scripture is a different entity from the plural cherubim. OK but on checking the Hebrew they come from the same root so are not overtly different entities in the Hebrew. Compare this with my view of the singleton and plural angels of God.] 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.
8 And there was seen belonging to the cherubs the representation of a hand of earthling man under their wings.
9 And I continued to see, and, look! there were four wheels beside the cherubs, one wheel beside the one cherub and one wheel beside the other cherub, and the appearance of the wheels was like the glow of a chrys'o·lite stone. [Are these the wheels of God’s chariot which act as the ‘landing gear’ when the cherubs are not in flight?]
10 And as for their appearance, the four of them had one likeness, just as when a wheel proves to be in the midst of a wheel. [The four lions atop the central wheel?]
11 When they would go, to their four sides they would go. They would not change direction when they went, because the place to which the head would face, after it they would go. They would not change direction when they went. [So the chariot can only go in a straight line once its direction is set, rather like a ballistic missile or perhaps a car bomb driven into the gates of the Indian embassy?]
12 And all their flesh and their backs and their hands and their wings and the wheels were full of eyes all around. The four of them had their wheels.
13 As regards the wheels, to them it was called out in my ears, “O wheelwork!”
14 And [each] one had four faces. The first face was the face of the cherub, and the second face was the face of earthling man, and the third was the face of a lion, and the fourth was the face of an eagle.
15 And the cherubs would rise—it was the [same] living creature that I had seen at the river Che'bar— [Is this saying that the living creature is the same as the cherubs?]
16 and when the cherubs went, the wheels would go alongside them; and when the cherubs lifted up their wings to be high above the earth, the wheels would not change direction, even they themselves, from alongside them.
17 When these stood still, they would stand still; and when these rose, they would rise with them, for the spirit of the living creature was in them. [Or is the living creature the one that drives the wheels on the ground and the cherubs provide the lift?]
18 And the glory of Jehovah proceeded to go forth from over the threshold of the house and to stand still over the cherubs.
19 And the cherubs now lifted up their wings and rose from the earth before my eyes. When they went forth, the wheels also were close alongside them; and they began standing at the eastern entrance of the gate of the house of Jehovah, and the glory of the God of Israel was over them, from above.
20 This is the living creature that I had seen under the God of Israel at the river Che'bar, so that I came to know that they were cherubs. [So the cherubs are collectively the living creature and therefore possibly The Cherub handing the coals to Jesus?]
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.
22 And as for the likeness of their faces, they were the faces the appearance of which I had seen by the river Che'bar, the very ones. [so a cherub’s face is a bull’s face]. They would go each one straight forward. (Ezekiel 10)
22 Then did the cherubims lift up their wings, and the wheels beside them; and the glory of the God of Israel was over them above. (Ezekiel 11)
18 And it was made with cherubims and palm trees, so that a palm tree was between a cherub and a cherub; and every cherub had two faces;
19 So that the face of a man was toward the palm tree on the one side, and the face of a young lion toward the palm tree on the other side: it was made through all the house round about. (Ezekiel 41)
And now, strangely, the only mention that Cherubs get in the whole of the New testament and a rather cryptic mention at that:
5 And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly. (Hebrews 9)
I do not know if this means anything but there is a striking similarity between the description of God’s chariot and the national symbol of India: The National Emblem of India is a replica of the Lion of Sarnath, near Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. The Lion Capital was erected in the third century BC by Emperor Ashoka to mark the spot where Buddha first proclaimed his gospel of peace and emancipation to the four quarters of the universe.The National emblem is thus symbolic of contemporary India's reaffirmation of its ancient commitment to world peace and goodwill.
The four lions (one hidden from view) - symbolising power, courage and confidence - rest on a circular abacus. The abacus is girded by four smaller animals - guardians of the four directions: the lion of the north, the elephant of the east, the horse of the south and the bull of the west. The four creatures are separated by four wheels (each with 24 spokes) representing the Dharma Chakra (Eternal Wheel of Law). The abacus rests on a lotus in full bloom, exemplifying the fountainhead of life and creative inspiration. The motto 'Satyameva Jayate' inscribed below the emblem in Devanagari script means 'truth alone triumphs'.
So we have four lions and four creatures. The four creatures are a lion and a bull as well as a horse and an elephant but there is no eagle. They are placed around a circular abacus (i.e. a horizontal wheel) and they are each separated by a wheel on the outer rim of the circular abacus ( a wheel in the midst of a wheel?). The lions are facing in all four directions. If this means anything we need to understand the symbolism of the horse and the elephant compared to the face of earthling man and the eagle.
It is probably irrelevant but the day after I updated this draft with the Indian emblem piece, the following was in the news: "Monday, 7 July 2008 A suicide bomber has rammed a car full of explosives into the gates of the Indian embassy in the Afghan capital, killing 41 people and injuring 141. Five Afghans died at Indonesia's embassy nearby. In the past, Afghanistan has accused Pakistani agents of being behind a number of attacks on its soil."
To add further cryptic intrigue the Indonesian national emblem has an eagle with five elements on a shield attached of which one of these elements is a bull.
Image: Bible Picture Gallery
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.
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 Jesus Christ.
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. (Acts 10)
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)
However, 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(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:
4 Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
5 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)
In 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.
Image: Bible Picture Gallery
Jacobs Struggle with the Angel by Rembrandt
The following scripture caused the writer to ask the question: ‘Are there different categories of spirit creature in God’s heavenly creation?’
8 For Sadducees say there is neither resurrection nor angel nor spirit, but the Pharisees publicly declare them all.
9 So there broke out a loud screaming, and some of the scribes of the party of the Pharisees rose and began contending fiercely, saying: “We find nothing wrong in this man; but if a spirit or an angel spoke to him,—.” (Acts 23)
The fact that the Pharisees in Acts differentiated between spirits and angels suggested that there was a difference between the two. It also begged the question as to whether there were further types of spirit creature. ‘Well of course there are!’ the bible-trained reader will say, knowing full well there are Cherubim, Seraphim, demons and, oh yes, an Archangel. So once again we are off on another scriptural treasure hunt for these spiritual folk not knowing quite where it will lead except that it will take us to places that the writer never dreamed of. Well certainly one place as you will discover for yourself if you read on!
Angels and Spirits
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.
5 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:
7 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. (Isaiah 6)
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.
9 And 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.
11 And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: and he was seen upon the wings of the wind (Heb. Ruach = spirit) (2Samuel 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.
14 Thou 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 plural cherubim:
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. (Ezekiel 10)
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, amongst many other related topics, 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.
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.
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.”
11 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)
Jewish Lords' Witness
Ark Covered by the Wings of Two Cherubim
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. (1Chronicles 10)
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!
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.
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:
16 It stood still, but I could not discern the form thereof: an image was before mine eyes, there was silence, and I heard a voice, saying,
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 22)
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 role:
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 stock.
Angel of the Lord
The Angel of the Lord is named as Gabriel in Luke 1:
11 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.
27 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,
28 Was 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.
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; Gabriel perhaps?
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 18)
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
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 with chains:
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.
5 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.
7 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. (Job 2)
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.
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 Scriptures:
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 this 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.
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.
Holy Angel, Angel of Jehovah, God and the Lord
Having 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)
This 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:
2 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 Judges 13:
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.
6 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:
9 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)
The above verses from the same account in Judges tell us two things (at least!).
Firstly 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:
23 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:
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.