Category Archives: ANGELS & DEVILS

Why did Paul label the Athenians “too superstitious?”

WHY DID PAUL LABEL THE ATHENIANS “TOO SUPERSTITIOUS?” WAS THAT NOT OFFENSIVE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The Apostle Paul has been censured for the words he preached in Acts 17:22 (King James Bible): “Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.” How could he be so “cruel,” so “insensitive” to the feelings of these prospective believers?

Here is an easy example of how modern Bible “scholarship” has employed human wisdom to soften the Scriptures. Man always endeavors to make himself look better than he really is, whereas God’s Word always takes a negative view of man. Bible translators, teachers, and preachers are thus always tempted to “tone down” any verses that may be perceived as “nasty” or “unfriendly.” Friends, if we cannot find the courage to preach all the words of God, then we are far better off shutting our mouths and saying absolutely nothing!

In Acts chapter 17, Paul is visiting Athens, Greece, the intellectual capital of the world in New Testament times. Read this excerpt: “[16] Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry…. [22] Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. [23] For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.”

As noted earlier, we want to concentrate on verse 22. Paul referred to these souls as “too superstitious.” It is an extremely long Greek word: “deisidaimonesterous.” Literally, it means “fearing more demons/devils than others.” In English, we would not say “too religious” because that is not as descriptive as “too superstitious.” The stronger word, the negative word, is “superstitious.” “Religious” obscures the wicked nature of the behavior. From God’s perspective, they were fanatics in heathenism. Remember, the city was “wholly [completely, entirely] given to idolatry” (verse 16). They had devotions, shrines, or altars dedicated to numerous deities. Yet, out of fear of perhaps overlooking a particular “higher power,” they added one particular memorial—a monument to “the unknown god” (verse 23). Had they not included this, they reasoned, that deity (if in existence) might possibly retaliate and punish them for their disrespectful negligence!

However, nearly every modern English version—including the NKJV—has the inferior reading “very religious” or “extremely religious” here. The offensive words “too superstitious” have been removed, so the thrust of Paul’s argument has been toned down (a mighty roar now a mere whimper). In the words of one English dictionary, to be “superstitious” is to “have an irrational fear of what is unknown or mysterious, especially in connection with religion.” This was precisely the problem of the Athenians: they dreaded a plethora of deities, including an “unknown god,” so it was much more than ordinary religion (paying homage to a known deity). The correct reading, the superior reading, is “too superstitious,” exactly as in our King James Bible. (Unless we are ungrateful for this light, and prefer the darkness of modern “scholarship.”)

If we would not fault Jesus for rightly calling unsaved people “hypocrites,” “blind guides,” “fools,” “vipers” (Matthew chapter 23); if we would not criticize John the Baptist for labelling lost people “vipers” in Luke chapter 3 (verse 7); then we should have no issue with Paul calling the pagan Athenians “too superstitious.” This is not brutal name-calling but rather a declaration of spiritual truth. Until lost people are told just how bad off they really are, until they come to the point of realizing they need to be saved from their sins, they have no ability to see the gravity of their situation. They must take care of their sin problem at Calvary (trusting Jesus Christ alone as their personal Saviour) or wind up taking care of it themselves in Hell and the Lake of Fire forever!

Paul would not have complimented or praised them for their careful pagan idolatry: “I have seen with my own eyes just how very religious you Athenians are!” (This is exactly the tone of the modern English versions in Acts 17:22.) We would expect a lost person, or a Christian thinking like a lost person, to speak such words. However, a Christian under the control of the Holy Spirit would condemn such behavior. It was far more than mere religion. It was extreme superstitious nonsense, as fear-based as a belief system could be. Paul took advantage of their agnosticism—their “without knowledge” of the one true God—and began to preach Jesus Christ to them. Yet, he never actually followed through with a clear Gospel message in Athens. Why? See our related study linked below!

Also see:
» Why did Paul not give the Gospel of Grace in Acts 17?
» Should we use the term “demons?”
» What are “curious arts?”
» What about those who have not heard?
» Why does the Bible say “Have no other gods before Me?”
» How do I know I am praying to the living God and not false gods?
» I believed the Gospel, so why do they not believe?

Was Jesus the “young man” in Mark 16:5?

WAS JESUS THE “YOUNG MAN” IN MARK 16:5?

by Shawn Brasseaux

No.

We read in chapter 16 of Mark: “[5] And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. [6] And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. [7] But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.”

Although wearing clothes similar to Christ’s raiment on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:2; Mark 9:3; Luke 9:29), the “young man” of this passage in question could in no wise be Christ. Firstly, the man refers to Jesus in the third-person numerous times: he is risen… he is not here… where they laid him… tell his disciples… he goeth before you… there shall ye see himhe said unto you.” (He did not use first-person pronouns “I” and “me.”) If Jesus is said not to be present in the tomb (“he is not here;” verse 6), then the speaker could certainly not be Jesus, could He?

Secondly, Mary Magdalene alone saw the resurrected Christ first (Mark 16:9; John 20:11-18). Several women were there in Mark 16:5-7, so the young man in the tomb could not have been Jesus. Thirdly, that young man is never actually said to be the Lord Jesus either. Remember, we should always be careful when making assumptions concerning Scripture. In this case, there is simply too much evidence favoring the young man being an angel and not Christ.

Before leaving, we must point out one significant feature oft overlooked: the young man” was actually a 4,000-year-old being. Angels do not exhibit age!

Also see:
» Do angels age?

» Are angels women?
» Do people become angels when they die?
» Did the disciples go to the wrong tomb on Resurrection Sunday?
»  How is mankind “lower than the angels?”
» Does Mark 16:9-20 belong in the Bible?

What about the “mythological” animals in Scripture?

WHAT ABOUT THE “MYTHOLOGICAL” ANIMALS IN SCRIPTURE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

In a desperate effort to disparage and discredit the King James Bible, skeptics point to these “imaginary” animals as proof that Scripture is not inerrant. They jest as follows: “The Bible is nothing but a book of fairytales because it says dragons, satyrs, unicorns, and cockatrices exist. We should not take it literally because it has no basis in reality.” Can we answer these charges? Yes, we most certainly can—and will (!)—reply with an intelligent response!

WHAT ABOUT “DRAGONS?”

According to The Oxford English Dictionary, a “dragon” is “a mythical monster like a giant reptile.” It continues, “In European tradition the dragon is typically fire-breathing and tends to symbolize chaos or evil, whereas in East Asia it is usually a beneficent symbol of fertility, associated with water and the heavens.” The word originated from a Middle English term that also denotes a large serpent. Actually, the name comes to us from Old French, via Latin from Greek “drakon” (“serpent”).

The term “dragon” appears in excess of 30 times in a King James Bible. In Hebrew, it is “tanniyn.” Genesis 1:21 renders it “whales” (as in sea monsters): “And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.” This seems to be the sense of Job 7:12: “Am I a sea, or a whale, that thou settest a watch over me?” Also, Jeremiah 51:34 may be speaking of a sea monster: “Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon hath devoured me, he hath crushed me, he hath made me an empty vessel, he hath swallowed me up like a dragon, he hath filled his belly with my delicates, he hath cast me out.” Psalm 148:7 fits with this idea too: “Praise the LORD from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps:….” Lastly, Jeremiah 51:34: “Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon hath devoured me, he hath crushed me, he hath made me an empty vessel, he hath swallowed me up like a dragon, he hath filled his belly with my delicates, he hath cast me out.”

On three occasions, it was translated “serpent.” See Exodus chapter 7: “[9] When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Shew a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast it before Pharaoh, and it shall become a serpent. [10] And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so as the LORD had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent…. [12] For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods.” This would seem to be the sense of Deuteronomy 32:33: “Their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps.” (An “asp” is a venomous snake.)

The “dragon” in Jeremiah 14:6 is enigmatic; we have no way of knowing what it is. “And the wild asses did stand in the high places, they snuffed up the wind like dragons; their eyes did fail, because there was no grass.” Neither can we say what the “dragon” is in Nehemiah 2:13: “And I went out by night by the gate of the valley, even before the dragon well, and to the dung port, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem, which were broken down, and the gates thereof were consumed with fire.”

A dozen Bible verses link “dragons” to ruins and desert places:

  • Job 30:29: “I am a brother to dragons, and a companion to owls.”
  • Isaiah 13:22: “And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces: and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged.”
  • Isaiah 34:13: “And thorns shall come up in her palaces, nettles and brambles in the fortresses thereof: and it shall be an habitation of dragons, and a court for owls.”
  • Isaiah 35:7: “And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.”
  • Isaiah 43:20: “The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen.”
  • Jeremiah 9:11: “And I will make Jerusalem heaps, and a den of dragons; and I will make the cities of Judah desolate, without an inhabitant.”
  • Jeremiah 10:22: “Behold, the noise of the bruit [report, news] is come, and a great commotion out of the north country, to make the cities of Judah desolate, and a den of dragons.”
  • Jeremiah 49:33: “And Hazor shall be a dwelling for dragons, and a desolation for ever: there shall no man abide there, nor any son of man dwell in it.”
  • Jeremiah 51:37: “And Babylon shall become heaps, a dwellingplace for dragons, an astonishment, and an hissing, without an inhabitant.”
  • Micah 1:8: “Therefore I will wail and howl, I will go stripped and naked: I will make a wailing like the dragons, and mourning as the owls.”
  • Malachi 1:3: “And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.”

In the above verses, the Bible writers may have been referring to physical animals they observed in Palestine thousands of years ago. These creatures may have since gone extinct. Some suppose it to be “jackal,” but this author views that as rather absurd. Be that as it may, we must also bear in mind, that some of these passages are prophetic—future. The verses from Isaiah and some from Jeremiah have not been fulfilled yet: they look forward to Christ’s return in fiery wrath, when He judges Babylon. (See our “satyr” remarks later in this study.) Perhaps they are creatures from the spirit world, and resemble the dragons of mythology!

Psalm 44:19 seems to indicate “dragons” are connected to the spirit world or death: “Though thou hast sore broken us in the place of dragons, and covered us with the shadow of death.” Whatever they are, they are real beings because the Bible says they are. Most importantly, we must not forget to see the spiritual aspect of the dragon in Scripture. As noted earlier, the word originated from a Middle English term that also denotes a large serpent. The word comes to us from Old French, via Latin from Greek “drakon” (“serpent”). Bearing in mind the etymological relationship between “snake” and “dragon,” we better appreciate how the Bible pairs them when applying those titles to Satan figuratively.

  • Isaiah 27:1: “In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.” Here is Satan’s destruction at Christ’s Second Coming, which is also pictured in Job chapter 41.
  • Isaiah 51:9: “Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the LORD; awake, as in the ancient days, in the generations of old. Art thou not it that hath cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon?” Again, this is Satan’s destruction at Christ’s Second Coming.
  • Ezekiel 29:3: “Speak, and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great dragon that lieth in the midst of his rivers, which hath said, My river is mine own, and I have made it for myself.” While there is a historical application, this too may be Christ destroying Satan as His Second Coming.
  • Psalm 74:13-14: “[13] Thou didst divide the sea by thy strength: thou brakest the heads of the dragons in the waters. [14] Thou brakest the heads of leviathan in pieces, and gavest him to be meat to the people inhabiting the wilderness.” Once more, this is Satan’s destruction at Christ’s Second Coming.
  • Psalm 91:13: “Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.” Here is God’s promise to the Little Flock, Israel’s believing remnant, that they will overcome Satan upon Christ’s return. The Devil deliberately omitted this from his quotation of Psalm 91 in Matthew 4:6 and Luke 4:10-11!

Revelation chapter 12: “[3] And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. [4] And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born…. [7] And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,…. [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. [13] And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child…. [16] And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. [17] And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”

Revelation chapter 13: “[2] And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority…. [4] And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?…. [11] And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon…. [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.”

As Revelation 12:9 reveals, the “dragon” in the Revelation is none other than Satan, the Devil. Lest we fail to make the connection, it is repeated in Revelation 20:2: “And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,….” Satan is a “serpent” in character, sneaky or duplicitous, as seen in Genesis 3:1: “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made” (cf. 2 Corinthians 11:3-4, Ephesians 4:14, and Ephesians 6:11).

WHAT ABOUT “SATYRS?”

As defined in The Oxford English Dictionary, a “satyr” is “[Greek mythology] one of a class of lustful, drunken woodland gods. In Greek art they were represented as a man with a horse’s ears and tail, but in Roman representations as a man with a goat’s ears, tail, legs, and horns.”

“Satyr” appears just twice in King James Bible. “But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there” (Isaiah 13:21). “The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall cry to his fellow; the screech owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest” (Isaiah 34:14). Some make these verses references to baboons—and translate the Hebrew thusly—but this seems ridiculous and not worthy of our consideration.

The Hebrew is “sa`iyr,” meaning “hairy.” It was used two times to refer to Esau the brother of Jacob (Genesis 27:11,23). Almost 30 times it was translated “kid,” a young goat. Two dozen times it was rendered “goat.” Interestingly, it was twice translated “devils”—a goat-idol the ancient Hebrews worshipped. “And they shall no more offer their sacrifices unto devils, after whom they have gone a whoring. This shall be a statute for ever unto them throughout their generations” (Leviticus 17:7). “And he ordained him priests for the high places, and for the devils, and for the calves which he had made” (2 Chronicles 11:15).

Regarding the two quotes we read from Isaiah at the beginning of this section, “satyrs” are connected to cursed Babylon (cf. Isaiah 13:19) and cursed Bozrah and Idumea (cf. Isaiah 34:6). Like “dragons,” they are found in desolate or ruined regions. Babylon is near present Baghdad, Iraq, whereas Bozrah and Idumea are south of the Dead Sea. These are two areas to be judged with fire at Christ’s Second Coming: “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;…” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).

Read Isaiah chapter 34: “[8] For it is the day of the LORD’S vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion. [9] And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch. [10] It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever: from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it for ever and ever.” Compare this to Revelation 14:9-11.

Could there be some type of real creature that resembles a satyr—a half-goat/half-man being? After all, we read earlier about the goat-idol the ancient Israelites worshipped. Even today, the “Baphomet” idol of Satanists is partly man and partly goat. What could inspire such a horrific image? This should not surprise us, as we see a creature equally disturbing in the Book of the Revelation. Look at these “locusts” of chapter 9, and you will see they are no ordinary grasshoppers!

“[1] And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. [2] And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. [3] And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. [4] And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads. [5] And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. [6] And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.

“[7] And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. [8] And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. [9] And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle. [10] And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months. [11] And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.”

These beings from the “bottomless pit” (spirit world) have a face like a man, hair like a woman, teeth like a lion, and tails with stingers like scorpions. They can fly, and generate a great deal of noise when swarming. Such a dreadful sight and sound! They indeed are monsters—but exist in the spirit world. We cannot see them with physical eyes yet they exist. Sin has corrupted even these fallen angels, and, one day, they will work with Satan to torment lost mankind during Daniel’s 70th Week. We can consider the “satyrs” as just another group of these deformed and evil beings, to be let lose in the ages to come (after our Dispensation of Grace).

WHAT ABOUT “UNICORNS?”

According to The Oxford English Dictionary, a “unicorn” is “a mythical animal represented as a horse with a single straight horn projecting from its forehead.” “Unicorns” appear nine times in the King James Bible. The Hebrew word is “re’em.” Notice them:

  • Numbers 23:22: “God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn.”
  • Numbers 24:8: “God brought him forth out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn: he shall eat up the nations his enemies, and shall break their bones, and pierce them through with his arrows.”
  • Deuteronomy 33:17: “His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them he shall push the people together to the ends of the earth: and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh.”
  • Job 39:9: “Will the unicorn be willing to serve thee, or abide by thy crib?”
  • Job 39:10: “Canst thou bind the unicorn with his band in the furrow? or will he harrow the valleys after thee?”
  • Psalm 22:21: “Save me from the lion’s mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.”
  • Psalm 29:6: “He maketh them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn.”
  • Psalm 92:10: “But my horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of an unicorn: I shall be anointed with fresh oil.”
  • Isaiah 34:7: “And the unicorns shall come down with them, and the bullocks with the bulls; and their land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust made fat with fatness.”

Various ideas have been offered to explain what “unicorns” are in Scripture. Some believe them to be a buffalo, an ox, or even an antelope called an “oryx.” A general explanation is a wild bull. Based on the description in the above verses (Numbers and Job), whatever the “unicorn” was, it was a beast of burden. It is associated with a bull or calf. We would do well, again, to notice the spiritual connection. “Unicorns” appear at Christ’s Second Coming (remember Isaiah chapter 34 and the dragons and satyrs?). There may very well be spirit creatures that have just a single horn on their forehead. Never forget: cherubim, in addition to having four wings and a calf’s hooves, have four faces—a man’s face, a lion’s face, an ox’s face, and an eagle’s face (Ezekiel 1:5-10)!

In the case of Psalm 22:21, this is Christ Jesus during the three days and three nights He was dead, and in the heart of the earth. He was with “unicorns”—that is, in the spirit world, where Satan was attempting to keep him and prevent His resurrection. For more information, see the Psalm 22:20-21 study linked at the end of this article.

WHAT ABOUT “COCKATRICES?”

In The Oxford English Dictionary, a “cockatrice” is “[heraldry] a mythical animal depicted as a two-legged dragon (or wyvern) with a cock’s [rooster’s] head.” “Cockatrices” appear four times in the King James Bible. The Hebrew word is “tsepha`.” Look at those now:

  • Isaiah 11:8: “And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den.”
  • Isaiah 14:29: “Rejoice not thou, whole Palestina, because the rod of him that smote thee is broken: for out of the serpent’s root shall come forth a cockatrice, and his fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent.”
  • Isaiah 59:5: “They hatch cockatrice’ eggs, and weave the spider’s web: he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper.”
  • Jeremiah 8:17: “For, behold, I will send serpents, cockatrices, among you, which will not be charmed, and they shall bite you, saith the LORD.”

Are these “make-believe” verses? No! It should be pointed out that “tsepha`” was also rendered “adder.” Proverbs 23:32: “At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.” A “cockatrice” in the Bible is a venomous snake, and, as you can see, the context of all these verses is definitely snake-oriented. Beyond that, we cannot be sure what it is. Perhaps it was a type of animal alive on Earth in Bible days that has since become extinct. Once more, the idea is certainly related to Satan (remember “dragon” and “snake”). Go back and check Isaiah 14:29 (see Lucifer/Satan in the context, verses 12-15 in particular).

CONCLUSION

The Bible sometimes uses “dragons” and “serpents” interchangeably because of their resemblance. In fact, a dragon in Scripture is often used figuratively of Satan to underscore his craftiness (as in the common idiom, “a snake in the grass”). Other times, however, “dragons” and “serpents” are not synonymous. A “dragon” can even be a sea monster—such as the whale or fish that swallowed Jonah. As with every Bible term, let the context restrict the meaning!

Concerning “satyrs,” they are half-man and half-goat beings in Greek mythology. As touching the Bible, they are certainly associated with goats—namely, a goat-idol that is a physical representation of an invisible, evil spirit creature. These are fallen angels, undergoing the deteriorating and disfiguring effects of sin. The “unicorns” are most enigmatic. Scripture speaks of them as strong beasts of burden, which existed in Bible days. Yet, there is a spiritual connection because they are associated with Christ’s death and resurrection. Regarding “cockatrices,” they are a type of venomous snake in Scripture. They have some relation to Satan, the serpent.

These creatures, even if they never existed on Earth, are linked to and exist in the spirit world—namely, Hell and accomplishing Satan’s work. We never want to discount the fact that various animals of the ancient world have gone extinct, and this is just as valid an explanation. Maybe the Bible writers were alluding to physical animals alive in their day. Then again, some were spirit beings God afforded them the opportunity to see in order to write His Word. As Bible believers, we should not and do not see their inclusion as a challenge to the historicity or literalness of the Scriptures. Even when employing metaphorical or figurative language, the Bible communicates literal truth. For example, while Satan is not an actual snake with scales and fangs, he nevertheless is a serpent in character—sly, deceptive, insidious. We use such terminology when describing people, do we not? Why are we so opposed to the Scripture doing the same? (Perhaps we have an agenda to shame it so we have an excuse not to believe it when it speaks of our sin problem?!)

(By the way, if someone should mock a Bible believer for saying “dragons” exist, just politely remind them of “make-believe” “Komodo dragons” and “bearded dragons.” That should reduce them to silence!)

Saints, please remember us in your monthly giving—these websites do cost money to run! 🙂 You can donate securely here: https://www.paypal.me/ShawnBrasseaux, or email me at arcministries@gmail.com. Do not forget about Bible Q&A booklets for sale at https://arcgraceministries.org/in-print/booklets-bible-q-a/. Thanks to all who give to and pray for us! By the way, ministry emails have really been backed up this year. I am handling them as much as humanly possible. Thanks for your patience. 🙂

Also see:
» Can you explain Psalm 22:20-21?
» What about the “talking snake” of Genesis 3?
» What swallowed Jonah—a fish or a whale?
» “But, what if I don’t accept the Bible’s authority?”

How many angels fell with Lucifer when he transformed into Satan?

HOW MANY ANGELS FELL WITH LUCIFER WHEN HE TRANSFORMED INTO SATAN?

by Shawn Brasseaux

How many angels fell with Satan? Revelation 12:4 is frequently offered as a possible answer: “And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.”

Revelation 12:3 speaks of “a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.” This is symbolic, of course, but that does not detract from its underlying reality. Verse 9 identifies that great dragon: “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.” The great dragon is the Devil, Satan.

So, if you read verse 4 again, it says: “[Satan’s] tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth.” It is believed that one-third of God’s angels fell when Lucifer was thrown out of heaven long ago. (Angels and stars are closely associated with one another in the Bible—see Job 38:7 and Revelation 1:20.) Is there merit in this interpretation of Revelation 12:4?

Revelation 12:4 could not be speaking of history. It is prophetic, something future, beyond our day. The only explanation here is that these angels will not fall until sometime after our Dispensation of Grace. What makes me say this is Daniel chapter 8: “[9] And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land. [10] And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them.Here, the Bible describes some of the host of heaven and some of the stars falling to the earth as the Antichrist rises and begins to consolidate his power. This, of course, is not history, but prophecy. John the Apostle must be referring to this when he speaks of one-third of the angels falling from heaven in Revelation 12:4. If you study it in detail, you will see that Revelation chapter 12 describes the career of the Antichrist.

We read about Lucifer’s history by appealing to the Prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel (which we will quote shortly). When the cherub (angelic-like spirit creature) Lucifer became infatuated with himself long ago, he began to think that he was wiser than God and he thought that he ought to be on God’s throne. Lucifer was originally God’s choir director, His composer and song-leader, someone to devise musical methods to praise his Creator God. However, Lucifer wanted to be worshipped as God rather than lead in worship of God. God kicked Satan out of the third heaven, and confined him to outer space and Earth.

Isaiah 14:12-15 says: “[12] How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! [13] For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: [14] I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. [15] Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.”

And, Ezekiel chapter 28, which is God speaking to Satan through the Prophet Ezekiel: “[1] The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying, [2] Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God: [3] Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee: [4] With thy wisdom and with thine understanding thou hast gotten thee riches, and hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures: [5] By thy great wisdom and by thy traffick hast thou increased thy riches, and thine heart is lifted up because of thy riches: [6] Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God; [7] Behold, therefore I will bring strangers upon thee, the terrible of the nations: and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of thy wisdom, and they shall defile thy brightness. [8] They shall bring thee down to the pit, and thou shalt die the deaths of them that are slain in the midst of the seas. [9] Wilt thou yet say before him that slayeth thee, I am God? but thou shalt be a man, and no God, in the hand of him that slayeth thee. [10] Thou shalt die the deaths of the uncircumcised by the hand of strangers: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD.

“[11] Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, [12] Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. [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. [17] Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. [18] Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. [19] All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more.”

Notice how Satan is guilty of an activity called “traffick” (verse 18). These are dealings or communications with others (think of our English word “drug trafficking”). In addition to Lucifer himself rebelling against God, he went out and enticed other angelic beings to follow him in that revolt. These are the Devil’s angels mentioned in Matthew 25:41, for which everlasting hellfire was created. They are contrasted with the “elect angels,” those that remained faithful to God and did not follow Lucifer (1 Timothy 5:21). God kicked all of these satanic angels out of the third heaven, and confined them in the second heaven (outer space) and below. They will never be allowed into His throne room again.

There are fallen angels—again, the Devil’s angels (Matthew 25:41)—operating in the heavenly places (outer space) today. For example, notice Ephesians 6:12: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (The word “high” here is translated from the same Greek word as “heavenly” in Ephesians 1:3, Ephesians 1:20, Ephesians 2:6, and Ephesians 3:10.) Hence, we read in Job 15:15: “Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight.” And, Job 25:5: “Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not; yea, the stars are not pure in his sight.”

These fallen angels will be cast out of the second heaven halfway through the seven-year Tribulation period. Here is where Revelation 12:7-12 picks up: “[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. [10] And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. [11] And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. [12] Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.”

So, then, what is Revelation 12:4 talking about? One-third of the fallen angels operating in the second heaven will come down to earth sometime during the first half of Daniel’s 70th Week (seven-year Tribulation). The rest of these fallen angels will be thrown out of the second heaven halfway through those seven years. It is the only way to make Revelation future instead of forcing it to be history. The Book of the Revelation cannot be history, as Revelation 1:1 says these are “things which must shortly come to pass”—they are future from John’s perspective!

How many angels originally fell with Lucifer in history then? We do not know an exact number because Scripture never provides such data. Still, we can infer that it was a large percentage because God never has many human followers throughout the Bible. At any and every point in history, just a very small fraction of believers appear in the Holy Scriptures. For instance, recall the eight believers on the Ark during the Great Flood of Noah’s day (Genesis 7:7; 2 Peter 2:5). Where were the millions—if not billions—of other people on the globe? Why, they perished in God’s wrath, being drowned in the floodwaters! According to Genesis 18:32 and Genesis 19:24-25, there were less than 10 believers in the whole city of Sodom! In Elijah’s day, there were 7,000 believers in the whole nation Israel (1 Kings 19:18)! There were only 120 believers in Jerusalem after Christ’s three-year earthly ministry (Acts 1:20)!

Notice these four verses:

  • Jude 14: “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,”
  • Daniel 7:10: “A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.”
  • Deuteronomy 33:2: “And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them.”
  • Psalm 68:17: “The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the LORD is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place.”

The Bible speaks of God’s angels as “thousands,” “ten thousands,” “thousand thousands” (millions), and “ten thousand times ten thousand” (100 million). If these are rough estimates of the number of angels that stayed loyal to God, I would then assume that Satan has many more on his side!

Also see:
» Is there any chance more angels will leave God and follow Satan?
» How many angels will be with Jesus Christ when He returns?
» Did God give angels free will as He gave to mankind?

Are the “angels” of the Revelation really “pastors?”

ARE THE “ANGELS” OF THE REVELATION REALLY “PASTORS?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

“Aggelos” appears 76 times in the Greek version of the Book of the Revelation. While most commonly rendered “angels,” scholars want to make eight exceptions. They argue that 68 references are to spirit-beings. Allegedly, the other eight references are not angels but rather “pastors” or “messengers.” Why do they say this? Are they correct? Why does it matter that we settle this? “For what saith the Scriptures?”

According to Strong’s Greek Concordance of the Bible, the King James Bible’s underlying Greek New Testament contains 186 instances of the word “aggelos”—rendered “angel” 179 times and “messenger” seven times. Never once is it translated “pastor.” While most often referring to spirit creatures, there are some exceptions: “aggelos” is the role of John the Baptist as “messenger” of God (Matthew 11:10; Mark 1:2; Luke 7:27), it applies to the “messengers” of John (Luke 7:24), it describes the “messengers” of Jesus (Luke 9:52), and it applies to the Jewish “messengers” sent to Rahab in Jericho (James 2:25). Finally, “aggelos” is rendered the “messenger” of Satan that afflicted Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:7—this would be a malady rather than a spirit-being or human.

To repeat, “aggelos” is used 76 times in the Greek version of Revelation. Most scholars favor it be translated “pastors” or “messengers” in eight particular instances. This alteration of the text makes it easier to teach that these beings are humans as opposed to angels. Therefore, they claim “angel” in our King James Bible should really be “messenger” or “pastor” in Revelation chapters 1–3. Let us read those eight verses:

  • Revelation 1:20: “The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.”
  • Revelation 2:1: “Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;….”
  • Revelation 2:8: “And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;….”
  • Revelation 2:12: “And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;….”
  • Revelation 2:18: “And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;….”
  • Revelation 3:1: “And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.”
  • Revelation 3:7: “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;….”
  • Revelation 3:14: “And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;….”

Dr. C. I. Scofield, in his eponymous study Bible, has placed a footnote at the word “angels” in Revelation 1:20: “The natural explanation of the ‘messengers’ is that they were men sent by the seven churches to ascertain the state of the aged apostle, now an exile in Patmos (cf. Phil. 4. 18); but they figure any who bear God’s messages to a church.”

While we will always appreciate Brother Scofield’s diligence in disseminating dispensational Bible truths via his study Bible, we must respectfully disagree with him concerning the “natural explanation” of those “angels” of Revelation’s seven churches. If we attempt to make these seven churches part of the Church the Body of Christ, we will seek to make the passages in Revelation fit with God’s current dealings with us. Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, are totally silent about any angelic beings leading any local assemblies of the Body of Christ. If we make Revelation’s seven churches part of the Body of Christ, and most do (as Dr. Scofield), then we will naturally disagree with Revelation when it mentions “angels” leading seven local churches.

Another theologian commented on the word “angels” in Revelation 1:20: “The word lit. means ‘messenger.’ Although it can mean angel—and does throughout the book—it cannot refer to angels here because angels are never leaders in the church. Most likely, these messengers are the 7 key elders representing each of those churches.” Notice how he argued “angels” should be “messengers” because angels never lead the church. Why? Like many, he is forcing these seven churches of Revelation to be the Church the Body of Christ. This is completely unsound theology, non-dispensational Bible study. Furthermore, he admits that the word “aggelos” is translated “angel” throughout the Book of the Revelation. Still, he wants to make the eight exceptions (change the word from “angel” to “messenger”) in order to keep his pet theological position!

As always, dear friends, the safest method to handle the Bible is to leave the King James Bible text alone. If we must alter God’s Word to fit our theology, then our preconceived ideas mean more to us than God’s Word. We have mixed-up priorities and misplaced loyalties! Beware, beware, beware!! Unless we turn back from this wayward path, we are sure to be further deceived! (The Bible says this, but it really means that. “Angel” is not “angel;” “angel” means “pastor.” If that is the case, how will we ever get anything out the Bible? Whether this or other topics, will be “spiritualizing” it instead of taking it literally.)

In Scripture, “stars” and angelic beings are closely related (Job 38:7; Daniel 8:10 cf. Revelation 12:4). As we saw earlier, Revelation 1:20 says the “stars” of the seven churches (verse 16) are “angels.” Such is not the language of human messengers of God. In keeping with Bible terminology, “stars” and “angels” are linked. People and stars, however, are never associated with each other in Scripture. If we can understand this, we will have no problem with leaving the Bible text alone in the opening chapters of Revelation. While Paul’s epistles are silent about angels ministering to us today, angelic beings have played and will play a very important role in the nation Israel’s program. This is how we should approach the Book of the Revelation.

Angels served in Israel’s history concerning Divine revelation, particularly regarding prophecy. For example, when the Prophet Daniel asked God in prayer for wisdom concerning his end-times prophecies, God sent the Angel Gabriel to give him “skill and understanding” (Daniel 9:21-27). This is repeated in Daniel 10:21: “But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince.” Gabriel illuminated Daniel concerning the Bible. Also, we see an “angel” “shewing” the Apostle John in Revelation 22:8 various prophecies that comprise that Book. Zechariah the Prophet received Divine insight into prophecy from angelic beings (see the Book of Zechariah, chapters 2 through 6). The Prophet Ezekiel had visions of angels and their roles in God’s program for Israel.

Using all of this background, we can see why Almighty God would have literal angelic beings in Revelation chapters 1–3, rather than mere human messengers. Whether in John’s day (history to us) or Daniel’s 70th Week (yet future from us), God has one angel leading each of the seven main assemblies in Asia (that is, Asia Minor, modern Turkey). The letter to each church is written specifically to the angel leading each church. These angels are commissioned to take the doctrine and illuminate the Jewish believers in Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.

If we consider all that the Bible says about angels and prophetic understanding, there is no other way for us to interpret this matter. As the Book of Hebrews, chapter 1, verses 13 through 14, states concerning Israel and the end-times: “But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” Indeed, angels will have a ministry to Israel yet future!

Also see:
» Is the Ephesian church of the Revelation the same group as those in the Book of Ephesians?
» Do we live in “the Church Age?”
» Should “church” be changed to “called-out assembly” in Acts 7:38 in the King James Bible?

Who or what are the “seven Spirits” found in Revelation?

WHO OR WHAT ARE THE “SEVEN SPIRITS” FOUND IN REVELATION?

by Shawn Brasseaux

We read about them on four occasions in the Bible, and only in the Book of the Revelation:

  • Revelation 1:4: “John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;….”
  • Revelation 3:1: “And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.”
  • Revelation 4:5: “And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.”
  • Revelation 5:6: “And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.”

A common attempt to identify these seven Spirits is to correlate them with Isaiah 11:2: “And [#1] the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, [#2] the spirit of wisdom and [#3] understanding, [#4] the spirit of counsel and [#5] might, [#6] the spirit of knowledge and of [#7] the fear of the LORD.” However, great difficulty is encountered when linking Isaiah to Revelation. The capitalization in Revelation causes people to conclude that the seven Spirits are actually the Holy Spirit. While it is true that the Holy Spirit is often capitalized in the English Bible (that is, “Spirit”), there are some exceptions. Isaiah 11:2 (quoted earlier) contains one such exception—“the spirit of the LORD” is the Holy Spirit. There are not seven “Holy Spirits.” Neither Isaiah 11:2 nor the Holy Spirit are under discussion in the Revelation passages.

Revelation 1:4 says these seven Spirits send forth a message of grace and peace. They are living entities, beings, not inanimate or nontangible concepts such as the last six “spirits” of Isaiah 11:2. They are called “the seven lamps of fire burning before the throne” in Revelation 4:5. Such could not be true of wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, and knowledge of the fear of the LORD. Again, the seven Spirits in the Book of Revelation are creatures of some kind, individuals with radiant bodies like burning fire (see angels described as such in Hebrews 1:7 and Psalm 104:4). Revelation 5:6 says they are, “seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.” This helps further identify them.

Before John the Apostle wrote the Book of the Revelation, the Old Testament had already spoken of “seven” special “Spirits.” The capitalization signifies they are not ordinary beings or common angels. They are unique angelic creatures, evidently having a distinctive purpose in God’s plan. While shrouded in mystery, we can find three references to them. They are called “the watchers.”

  • Zechariah 4:10: “For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth.” (This end-time Book links to Revelation—the Second Coming of Christ.)
  • Second Chronicles 16:9: “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.”
  • Daniel 4:17: “This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.”

Also see:
» Do people become angels when they die?
» Are angels women?
» Do we have guardian angels?

Is there any chance more angels will leave God and follow Satan?

IS THERE ANY CHANCE MORE ANGELS WILL LEAVE GOD AND FOLLOW SATAN?

by Shawn Brasseaux

No. Nothing in Scripture indicates more angels will rebel against the Creator. It would seem that any angelic rebellion against God has already transpired and will not be repeated. Angels had a one-time chance to follow Lucifer or stay true to God, and that decision was made long ago. The angels that united with Lucifer (when he transformed into Satan) can never return to serve God, and the angels that remained with God will always be faithful to God. That is the simplest explanation.

What stopped that angelic insurrection? In other words, why did not all the angels fall with Satan? Why was there not 100 percent mutiny? Matthew 25:41 appears to answer that question. God created Hell, a place of “everlasting fire,” but never intended it for man. It was “prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Notice the absence of Hell in Genesis 1:1—it was simply Heaven and Earth. Hell was created later, once the angels sinned with Lucifer.) While the angelic ranks were in the process of allying with Satan, God created Hell, which stopped further fallout. Hell is such a dreadful place that, once the angels saw God constructing it, they did not side with Satan. It was too late for the ones that already moved to Satan’s side but the ones on God’s side stayed on God’s side. When man sinned against God in Genesis chapter 3, aligning himself with Satan, he too became an “heir” of Hell. Hell is the prison where all God’s enemies are kept until they are thrown into the Lake of Fire after being judged (Revelation 20:11-15).

Also see:
» Did God give angels free will as He gave mankind?
» Why are lost people not judged for their works immediately after physical death?
» Do people become angels when they die?

How many angels will be with Jesus Christ when He returns?

HOW MANY ANGELS WILL BE WITH JESUS CHRIST WHEN HE RETURNS?

by Shawn Brasseaux

While the exact number is unknown to us, the Bible still provides us clues as to how many angels will accompany the Lord Jesus Christ at His Second Coming.

  • Deuteronomy 33:2: “And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them.”
  • Jude 14-15: “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”

At minimum, “ten thousands” is 20,000 (or 10,000 times two). To aid our comprehension, God the Holy Spirit in His written Word groups these angelic soldiers into multiples of 10,000. Just how high that number goes, though, is anyone’s guess. For example, there could be millions of angels in the army that Jesus Christ will lead at His Second Coming. Whatever the exact number, these are “the armies of heaven” of Revelation 19:14. Also pertinent to our study is Psalm 68:17: “The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place.” There are at least 20,000 “chariots of God,” which would indicate there are at least 20,000 angels to drive those chariots! And, just remember, one angel slew 185,000 Assyrian soldiers in a single night (2 Kings 19:35; Isaiah 37:36)!!

By the way, the word “saints” confuses people in this context. It is not a reference to Christians here but rather the set-apart, or sanctified, nature of God’s angels. They are the holy angels, “holy” being synonymous with “sanctified,” as opposed to Satan and his angels (cf. Matthew 25:41; Revelation 12:7,9).

  • Matthew 25:41: “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:….”
  • Revelation 14:10: “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:….”
  • 1 Timothy 5:21: “I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.”
  • Matthew 16:27: “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.”
  • Matthew 25:31: “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:….”
  • Mark 8:38: “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.”
  • Luke 9:26: “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.”

You will notice that we answered the question as related to the Second Coming (that is, for Israel). Now, we will reply to it as concerning Christ’s coming for us (the Church the Body of Christ) at the Rapture. Only one angel is said to be present at the Rapture, and he is an “archangel” or head-angel (presumably this is Michael, as he is the only “archangel” identified in Scripture—see Jude 9). “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).

Also see:
» Do people become angels when they die?
» Who are the “saints” in 1 Thessalonians 3:13?
» Did God give angels free will as He gave to mankind?

Who are the “saints” in 1 Thessalonians 3:13?

WHO ARE THE “SAINTS” IN 1 THESSALONIANS 3:13?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 3:13, “To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.” Are these “saints” Christians or angels?

A King James Bible critic quibbled that the word “saints” here is “an unfortunate and inappropriate translation.” He continued, “It is not believers but angelic beings.” Beloved, there is absolutely nothing “unfortunate” or “inappropriate” about how the 1611 translators handled the Greek text here. Any and every dependable Greek dictionary defines hagios as “holy, set apart; holy things or holy ones [saints].” A related word and concept is “sanctification.” “Saints” is a perfectly acceptable translation of the underlying Greek. The problem is not with the translation, but with people who are so “scholarly-minded” that they do not know how to use the English Bible!!

Such detractors, as you probably noticed, assume that the Bible term “saints” can only apply to believers. This is a misconception. Not merely can people be set apart for God’s purposes, but angels can be sanctified too. Consequently, Scripture speaks of the “elect angels” (1 Timothy 5:21) as the holy angels” (Revelation 14:10). They are in contrast to “the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41; cf. Revelation 12:7,9) and “the angels which kept not their first estate” (Jude 6). Since there are holy (good) angels, it is not surprising to find God’s Word calling them “saints.” Remember, they are set apart for the purpose for which God created them—they serve Him.

Look for yourself: God has no problem calling good angels “saints!”

  • Deuteronomy 33:2: “And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them.”
  • Job 15:15: “Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight.” Considering the connection to the “heavens,” these are angels as opposed to people. They are actually angels before they fell and followed Satan in his rebellion; hence, they have corrupted the heavens, or outer space (cf. Ephesians 6:12; Revelation 12:7-12).
  • Jude 14-15: “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” These saints are angels, not humans, not (Keep reading to see the parallel verses!)
  • Psalm 68:17: “The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place.”
  • Matthew 16:27: “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.”
  • Matthew 25:31: “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:….”
  • Mark 8:38: “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.”
  • Luke 9:26: “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.”
  • 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8: “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:….”
  • Revelation 19:14: “And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.” (These are not Christians, but angels. Let the earlier verses govern the interpretation.)

WHY CHANGE 1 THESSALONIANS 3:13?

The critic denounced “saints” in 1 Thessalonians 3:13 because (as you saw) he contended that Jesus Christ returns with angels not Christians at His Second Coming. His critical remark was founded upon the notion that “saints” can only mean believers. Such a verse modification is wholly unnecessary. Our earlier brief survey of verses demonstrated that assumption to be incorrect. We do not have to change the Bible text to teach our favorite doctrine. Friends, that is heresy!! Actually, we should not adjust the Bible text to communicate our pet dogma; rather, we should modify our doctrine to fit the Bible.

(The justification for changing this verse is a misconception. Make note! The critical eye, quick to “correct” the Bible, does nothing more than pervert something that was originally sound. Good was perceived as evil, so changing it in an attempt to make it “better” actually introduces error that was never there in the first place.)

God’s Word is the final authority, not our opinions. How dangerous it is to alter the Holy Bible, when in God’s mind it does not change! Jesus Christ indeed does not return with Christians at the Second Coming, but we do not have to challenge or alter Scripture to show it. All we have to do is compare verses (we did earlier, and we will do more now).

OUR HEAVENLY DESTINY: THE HEAVENLY PLACES

We the Church the Body of Christ, those of us who have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour (1 Corinthians 15:3-4), our destiny is the heavenly places. If we are already in the heavenly places—and we are during the seven-year Tribulation—we have no reason to return to Earth at the Second Coming. We have already been established in the heavenly places, ruling and reigning for God’s glory. Notice our eternal destiny as members of the Body of Christ!

  • Ephesians 1:3: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:….”
  • Ephesians 1:20-23: “Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”
  • Ephesians 2:6-7: “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”
  • 2 Corinthians 5:1: “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
  • 2 Timothy 4:18: “And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

Now, back to 1 Thessalonians 3:13!

WHO ARE THE “SAINTS” IN 1 THESSALONIANS 3:13?

As we observed, “saints” in Scripture can be a title for either believers or angels. The context indicates which one it is. As pertaining to 1 Thessalonians 3:13, “saints” is actually Christians. But, it is not speaking of any Christians—or even angelsreturning to Earth at the Second Coming (as often assumed—the error the aforementioned critic attempted, but failed, to correct). Actually, while the faultfinder was nitpicking and offering a “better” term, he was (in fact!) misreading the verse. He was doubly confused!

Read the verse carefully in context: “And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints” (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13).

This speaks of us Christians being presented before Father God. After the Rapture, our gathering together unto Christ in the air (2 Thessalonians 2:1; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), we go to the Judgment Seat of Christ for our Christian doctrine and earthly service to be reviewed (Romans 14:10-12; 1 Corinthians 3:9-15; 2 Corinthians 5:9-10). After that, the Lord Jesus Christ will present us before the throne of His Heavenly Father. It is here that our Heavenly Father will appoint us to fulfill offices in the heavenly places. These roles will be consistent with our doctrine and service already determined at the Judgment Seat. Jesus Christ comes to Father God with His saints, Christians. Again, 1 Thessalonians 3:13 has nothing to do with Christians or angels at the Second Coming. The Second Coming is not in view here anyway.

CONCLUSION

Contrary to popular belief, the Bible does not restrict the word “saints” to believers or Christian people. According to some verses, angels can be set apart for God’s purposes as well. We must therefore rely on the context to restrict the definition (whether angels or people).

In the case of 1 Thessalonians 3:13, the word means Christians not angels. However, that is not to say that this verse says Christians will return at the Second Coming (another common misconception). First Thessalonians 3:13 is Jesus Christ bringing Christians from the Judgment Seat of Christ, to stand before the throne of Father God, so Father God can designate their (our) roles in the government of the heavenly places!! If you want to see more about this special event, see Ephesians 5:27 and Colossians 1:22.

Also see:
» Do we have guardian angels?
» How many angels will be with Jesus Christ when He returns?
» Do angels age?

Do angels age?

DO ANGELS AGE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

No, they do not!

Mark 16:5 answers this for us: “And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted.”

Dear friends, the “young man” was actually an angel. Yes, Mark provides a window for us to peer into the angelic world. Angels can materialize in our dimension at will, and then disappear just as quickly and return to heaven. When they do appear, it is always in the form of mennever women as depicted in mythology, religion, and superstition!

As Mark indicates, although angels have existed for thousands of years, their appearance does not reflect their age. We grow older; they do not. Yet, like us, they wear clothes. In this case, “a long white garment.” Luke 24:4 calls them “shining garments.” Do they make their own clothing? Out of what do they make it? (These are mysterious questions we cannot answer at this time.)

Note how Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome were “affrighted” to see that angel in Mark 16:5; he very much resembled a man, and yet, something about his appearance made them afraid. Evidently, they knew it was an angel rather than an ordinary human being.

If we keep reading in Mark’s final chapter, we learn that the angel speaks in a human language—Hebrew?, Aramaic?, ?—that Jesus’ disciples can understand: “[6] And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. [7] But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.” Angels are extremely intelligent creatures.

Here is one final little piece of information about angels. While not stated in Mark, we learn from Matthew 28:1-8, the parallel passage, that one angel rolled away the gigantic stone from Jesus’ tomb. Thus, the women could enter the cave and find it empty. Angels have incredible strength!

Also see:
» Do people become angels when they die?
» Are angels women?
» How is mankind “lower than the angels?”