First Born Rights
There is a biblical pattern of a second-born (or even a later born) son being given the first-born rights or favour. Well known examples of this include God’s favour of Abel over Cain; God’s covenant with Isaac’s seed over Ishmael even before Isaac was born; Jacob’s buying of Esau’s first-born birthright, Israel’s greater love for Joseph over Reuben:
4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:
5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. (Genesis 4)
19 And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.
20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.
21 But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year. (Genesis 17)
31 And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright.
32 And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?
33 And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he swore unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob. (Genesis 25)
3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours. (Genesis 37)
Even more so do we have the example of King David, the greatest king in Israel’s history, when he came to his God’s notice. He was the youngest of eight sons, a tender of sheep and arguably of a youthful and weak disposition compared with his three brothers in the Israeli army. He was chosen by God to be king of Israel in preference to his three elder brothers:
11 And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he come hither.
12 And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the LORD said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he.
13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day, forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah. (1Samual 16)
God knew that David would elect to take on and would defeat the giant Philistine Goliath in single combat despite his inexperience in battle. This was a challenge which all of King Saul’s battle-hardened troops had shied away from before David’s entrance into the conflict.
Then we come to the less well-understood but most important transfer of first-born rights to Michael over Satan. (For further details of this see I16 An introduction to Satan, Michael, Gabriel on our introductory web site and [16a] The first few verses of John 1 on our main web site). It was the transfer by God of the first-born rights from Satan to Michael that set the pattern for what was to follow. It may interest the reader to know that Michael (aka Jesus) was in fact very young in angelic terms (For further details of this see Matthew Chapter 1: The angelic descent of the angel Michael on our main web site).
So throughout the history of the Old Testament patriarchs we have a literal and well-established principle that the first-born rights or divine or paternal favour are invariably bestowed upon a later son albeit under varied circumstances. This pattern is generally described symbolically in scripture thus:
30 And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last. (Luke 13)
Can we apply this pattern to the angels who, as a group, are God’s first-born and mankind who, as a group, are God’s youngest sons? Firstly there is ample evidence in the Scriptures that Man was created after the Angels:
26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: (Genesis 1)
The ‘our’ here must refer to the host of angels pre-existing man’s creation.
4 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.
5 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;
7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? (Job 38)
This indicates that ‘the sons of God’, the Angels, witnessed the creation of the physical universe which also pre-existed man’s creation.
22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever:
23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. (Genesis 3)
Again the ‘us’ knowing ‘good and evil’ reflects the pre-existence of God’s heavenly host this being re-iterated in that he placed his Cherubim (angels who mediate the various covenants between God and Mankind) as guards after Adam’s fall. So from the above scriptures we have ample evidence that in the greater meaning the Angels are the elder brothers of Mankind. From the previous section we know that Man will eventually have dominion over the Angels, that birth-right having been won by Christ on behalf of his fleshly brethren. So the pattern of the transfer of first-born rights from the Angels to mankind as a group would appear to be established.
This paper represents the first attempt by the Web-Master at some original bible research. You will see later in the paper that he stumbled across material that had already been written by another christian church in a similar vein. However, as is the way of research, this material was further built upon and embellished. This paper is in its original form as presented as an offering to the Lords' Witnesses. It has the distinction for its writer of being his first paper published as a confirmed doctrinal understanding (albeit with some further extensions) on the official web-site of the Lords' Witnesses at: http://www.truebiblecode.com/understanding511.html.
God created Mankind after he had already created his sons, the Angels. One of our Lords’ Witnesses brethren asked the question ‘What is the status of Mankind compared with that of the Angels, now and in the future, given that as a species we were created after the Angels and, at first sight, appear rather inferior in many ways?’. For his temerity in asking such a question he was tasked with writing this new understanding which is an example of what may be revealed to us if we are brave enough to ask questions of our Lord.
Mankind's Status Compared with that of the Angels
The Hierarchy in the Kingdom of God
God rewards initially his first-line troops (Mankind) in the battle over evil not those who watch the spectacle from the wings (The Angels). The foremost example of Jehovah’s front-line troops is of course Michael, the General of Jehovah’s army of Angels, who led from the front suffering pain, humiliation and death as a man for the sake of mankind and his brothers, the Angels. Therefore in the greater symbolism, Man inherits the first-born rights over the Angels. These first-born rights were earned on Man’s behalf by Jesus upon his death on the cross and resurrection into heaven:
9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. (Hebrews 2)
If we consider the ‘pecking order’ of the full spectrum of God’s intelligent spiritual creatures we can perceive it as a progression from Pre-Adamics (we will come on to them shortly) to Angel to Man to God. This indicates that your average Angels must become Men before they can become judges of Angels (1 Corinthians 6:3) which is before they can become Gods. Whilst granted upon Christ’s resurrection, Mankind’s newly bestowed first-born rights are truly exercised at the point of their becoming judges of Angels in the Kingdom of God. This journey follows the path that Michael took who started his life as an Angel, elected (through his love of the world, his brothers and the Father) to become a Man, suffered and died as a Man and then became a God ahead of his brothers:
29 When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth:
30 Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him;
31 Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men. (Proverbs 8)
5 Keep this mental attitude in YOU that was also in Christ Jesus,
6 who, although he was existing in God’s form, gave no consideration to a seizure, namely, that he should be equal to God.
7 No, but he emptied himself and took a slave’s form and came to be in the likeness of men.
8 More than that, when he found himself in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient as far as death, yes, death on a torture stake.
9 For this very reason also God exalted him to a superior position and kindly gave him the name that is above every [other] name,
10 so that in the name of Jesus every knee should bend of those in heaven and those on earth and those under the ground, (Philippians 2)
Thus the archetype for all who follow Michael must be Angel before Man before a God, i.e. Angels need to become Men before they can aspire to be Gods. Remember Adam was made in God’s image and God’s first-born son through inheritance is described as the Last Adam to emphasise the point:
45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. (1 Corinthians 15)
Adam and Jesus have one thing in common over all creation; they are true sons of God in a way that your average Angel isn’t. So Adam can become a god and before the angels. Jesus did and is leading the way for mankind (he IS The Way):
6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14)
Actually Jesus is leading the way for the Angels too but they need to go through the physical existence of being Men first with all our weaknesses and the ability to taste pain and death.
None of us can learn how to be a God without putting our very existence on the line first to appreciate the blessings of life for ourselves and those around us. To experience life and love tinged with the risk of losing both is the greatest possible education for any spiritual being.
Let us now, in the light of the above, extend the precedence argument to include the heavenly hosts as well as the earthly. The 1NC Saints will not have the Holy Spirit and the heavenly angels under their immediate subjection since they would not have existed as angels for long enough to be capable of judging the heavenly host. However, any heavenly angels who would wish to progress towards God-ship will need to become men first, at which point they will then become subject to the judgement of the 1NC Saints.
So we have the following precedence of ruler-ship in the Kingdom and beyond, presumably, as indicated in Figure 1 below.
Now we can extend the argument to the Pre-Adamics. They were made in the image of the Angels. Therefore in the same way that Men can become Gods it would seem plausible that Pre-Adamics will become Angels before they become Men. Pre-Adamics were made in the image of the Angels and are therefore sons of the Angels; Adam was made in the image of God and was therefore a Son of God, a higher inheritance which carries forward to his imperfect off-spring Adamic Mankind:
26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. (Genesis 1)
Now the 1NC Saints were created as men and will become Michael’s wife as a body of angels in the heavenly kingdom to come:
2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. (2Corinthians 11)
They are therefore wife to a God Michael in the same way that the Holy Spirit is wife to THE God Jehovah (see I11 The Holy Spirit is God's Wife!). It therefore seems likely that the 1NC Saints individually will have God-ship as their next stage of spiritual development in that they are following the pattern of becoming Angels having first been fleshly men. The status of the individual angels that make up the Holy Spirit is less certain although logic would dictate that if Jehovah saw fit to cause his beloved son Michael to go through the pain of becoming a man before reaching God-ship then this same rule may well apply to them also.
26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; (John 5)
As further evidence John 5:26 above indicates that Jehovah has given Christ his own godly ability to give ever-lasting life to who he chooses. New gods can form new independent families hence Michael will have his own wife in the heavenly kingdom in the same way that Jehovah has his. As a result of resurrection a spirit can be reborn into a new body and family and can jump generations as did Christ and so Christ’s early followers will become his wife and his later followers his spiritual children:
22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. (1Corinthians 15)
This furthermore begs the following questions for the enquiring mind: ‘Can one be adopted and eventually become a god other than directly through Christ, e.g. through Gabriel, Melchizedek, Emmanuel, John, Paul, other 1NC Saints etc? How many direct godly children does/will Jehovah have other than Michael? This is the stuff of future understandings one prays!
Why was Man Created?
We then have to ask ourselves ‘why was Man created after the Angels’ and ‘why was he created as a physical being rather than a spiritual being like the Angels’? Our current understandings suggest that Man and the physical universe were created as teaching aids for the benefit of the Angels:
9 For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. (1 Corinthians 4)
So let us think of the ways in which man’s physical existence can be a lesson to both angels and men. As we saw in a previous section mankind is frail and vulnerable compared with the angels who cannot suffer in quite the same life-threatening way at the hands of their brothers. Our frailty is therefore a lesson for the angels which they cannot learn from their own experience of suffering. Our weakness provides the moral and spiritual guidance for us and the angels, e.g. our greed can kill a million starving humans but one demon’s greed cannot cause death to his spiritual and immortal brothers. The prospects of our heavenly brethren witnessing and reacting to the murder of countless millions in Hitler’s death camps and the on-set of the Great Tribulation by the deliberate terrorist massacre of school children at Beslan amongst all the countless atrocities that have been committed by man over the centuries does not bear thinking about. What a salutary lesson in how not to run a planet:
5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (Genesis 6)
We know from many scriptures that God is an emotional spirit. He loves his children, he gets angry when they disobey him deliberately, he is described as pleased when his children do well, he gets unhappy when he sees the whole of his creation going to rack and ruin:
5 Nevertheless the LORD thy God would not hearken unto Balaam; but the LORD thy God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee, because the LORD thy God loved thee. (Deuteronomy 23)
15 (For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth. (Deuteronomy 6)
10 And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. (1Kings 3)
6 And Jehovah felt regrets that he had made men in the earth, and he felt hurt at his heart. (Genesis 6)
Since his sons are created in his image they are also emotional creatures. We know that Jesus himself, currently God’s only truly begotten son, wept for the state of mankind while he was on earth. This demonstrates that the angels also have emotions since the cherub Michael possessed the body of Jesus at that time:
33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.
34 And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.
35 Jesus wept. (John 11)
The physicalisation of emotion on men’s faces provides us all with the insight to their feelings. Clearly we mere mortals can have no sense of how God's spiritual sons can manifest their feelings but what we do know is that mankind has an amazingly expressive face containing many facial muscles to contort his visage in direct response to any emotional stimulus. Scientists have apparently catalogued over 10,000 different combinations of facial muscular movement. Other signs such as tears add further emphasis to extremes of sadness, anger or joy. The sight of emotion on men’s faces affects all of us enormously, the angels no less than ourselves. We can all sense very graphically from this external physical source how each man’s spirit is feeling on the inside and can therefore empathise with his state of mind. For me the famous expressionist painting, ‘The Scream’ by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch has always invoked an emotional reaction in me and epitomises the above considerations (check out the web-site: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Scream).
So from the above we can see that whilst Angels cannot starve they are nonetheless probably just very unhappy beings when abused by their brothers. God wants a happy and harmonious community of his children and so Mankind has to go through much personal pain and suffering to teach the Angels and himself to attain that perfect state for all. Even mankind’s diseases provide learning points for the Angels; one cancer cell can destroy a whole human life and this can be extrapolated to the start of any corrupting influence in any context of life that one chooses to examine. So in the final analysis one man’s fall from disobedience to a loving God leads to the total destruction of the planet and all human life in this system.
Man Eventually Higher Than The Angels in The Kingdom
Immediately prior to the claim that man is a little lower than the angels in Hebrews 2:9 we read:
5 For it is not unto the angels that he hath put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. (Hebrews 2)
The principle here is that Adam, because he was made in the image of God, was to be given God-like authority to rule over every other created thing, including angels. However, this is not the case in this system of things but will be in 'the world to come'. The bible author is declaring that the Kingdom of God will not be ruled by angels. So whilst Mankind was given dominion only over the physical creation in this system of things, he will be given dominion over the spiritual creation also in the Kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:3 illustrates this point perfectly on earth and in heaven. Paul says:
3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? How much more things that pertain to this life? (1 Corinthians 6)
In the context, Paul is explaining to the Corinthians that the 1NC Saints will rule the earth from heaven in the future, including the judging of angels in heaven. This is in stark contrast to the current state of affairs where even Jesus Himself was tempted by Satan concerning the authority to rule the world:
8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. (Matthew 4)
Whilst Christ rebukes Satan, He does not refute Satan's claims that he rules this world as evidenced elsewhere in scripture:
19 We know we originate with God, but the whole world is lying in the [power of the] wicked one. (1 John 5)
This is the same type of temptation that Satan gave Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. The difference is that Jesus Christ resisted Satan while Adam fell to the temptation and thus has subjected himself, and consequently the whole of Adamic mankind, to the rule of Satan to this present day.
Revelation 20:6 also gives us a picture of what the position of the 1NC Saints will be in the future. Mankind will be re-established in the position for which they were created. Jesus Christ is totally sovereign over all, and the 1NC Saints will be ruling with Him in the Kingdom, a status which your average angel will not have:
6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Revelation 20)
This is further confirmed by a re-examination of Hebrews 2:8 above and 1Corinthians 15:
8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. (Hebrews 2)
24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.
28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. (1Corinthians 15)
This firmly indicates that God subjects all things under Jesus’ feet except himself. Since Jesus’ body is comprised of his feet and that above his feet, this confirms that the 1NC Saints, Jesus’ wife and body, have all physical creation in subjection to them in the Kingdom. This argumentation will be expanded upon later in this understanding with regard to the status of the heavenly hosts.
Image provided by www.BiblePictureGallery.com
Jewish Lords' Witness
Man Initially a Little Lower Than The Angels
In considering Mankind’s status in the grand scheme of things compared with that of the Angels he was clearly created as an inferior species according to the scriptures:
4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
5 For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor.
6 Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:
7 All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field;
8 The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. (Psalms 8)
6 But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or (the) son of man, that thou visitest him?
7 Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honor, and didst set him over the works of thy hands.
8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.
9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. (Hebrews 2)
The above verses indicate that both man and Jesus were ‘made a little lower than the angels’ but that dominion was given to both. Psalms 8 and Hebrews 2 are parallel accounts which further supports the notion that both these meanings are intended in the literal and word symbolic interpretations. The Greek text for ‘the son of man’ in Hebrews 2:6 refers to a fleshly son of Adam, whereas Jesus is elsewhere in Greek scripture specifically referred to as ‘the son of the man’:
20 And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of the man hath not where to lay his head. (Matthew 8)
There is another sense in which man is inferior to the Angels today. That is in his mortality. Whilst the Angels today have an indefinite lifespan (since they are not subject to the Adamic death penalty) Mankind, according to our understandings, today has a maximum genetic lifespan of some 120 years (check this out: I15 120, 240, 480, 960 and indefinite lifespan humans) although in practice it is actually much less. This again will be remedied in the Kingdom:
35 But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage:
36 Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection. (Luke 20)
In this aspect of his future life, Mankind will not gain superiority over the Angels but will at least gain equivalence by getting back what they lost at Adam’s fall from Grace which will give him equal life to the spiritual sons of God in the Kingdom.
There is a third sense in which mankind is inferior to the Angels and that is in the infirmity and limitations of his body. In this regard even Adam’s perfect body, before it became stricken with the curse of aging at his fall, was inferior to the indestructible Angelic body enjoyed by God’s sons. Even in his perfection Adam was prone to injury and needed physical sustenance to stay alive:
2 Have mercy upon me, O LORD; for I am weak: O LORD, heal me; for my bones are vexed. (Psalms 6)
29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. (Genesis 1)
Additionally angels have the capability to migrate between heaven and earth through some form of physical transformation as witnessed by a number of angelic visitations to earth as recounted in scripture:
1 And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground; (Genesis 19)
This kind of manifestation is clearly outside of mankind’s capability today but will be gained by him as he progresses towards attaining God-ship.
Where is Christ right now? The third statement in Hebrews 2:9 above tells us that He is '...crowned with glory and honour... .' While men will some day be crowned with glory and honour, and restored to our original position of authority, Christ is crowned right now! Why? Because 'of the suffering of death.'. The penalty has been paid, Christ is victorious. He suffered and died for the sins of you and me, but now He is receiving the glory and honour He deserves, sitting at the right hand of God:
19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. (Mark 16)
The literal translation in Psalm 8 indicates that Mankind was given dominion over the physical creation only whereas Hebrews 2:8 indicates that all things will be put in subjection under him. Whilst this latter is clearly true of our Lord Jesus we need to consider how this would relate to Mankind in general.
Tobias walking with the Angel Raphael
Bible references throughout this Understanding have been taken from the King James Version except where there are significant deviations from the precise meaning of the original Greek or Hebrew texts in which cases the New World Translation has been used.
In researching this Understanding much value was gleaned from a sermon preached by Gil Rugh in 1978 entitled: Believers Will Rule Over Angels, basing his interpretation largely on the scriptures in Hebrews 2:5-9. This sermon is to be found on the internet web-site of the Indian Hills Community Church (http://www.biblebb.com/files/GR283.htm). Whilst we would not subscribe to the sum total of this Church’s doctrinal beliefs, it is clear that this church has been blessed by our Lords with clear insight into some of the spiritual knowledge contained in scripture. So we at least have one scripturally based case of ecumenicism actually working to God’s purposes rather than man’s!
Figure 1 - Hierarchy in the Kingdom of God