We continue, with this fourth installment, the serial publication of Herbert W. Armstrong's latest book Mystery of the Ages.
COULD ANYTHING be more mysterious than the question of the unseen spirit world? Angelic beings have always been a mystery to people on the earth. Do angels actually exist? Is there, in fact, a Satan the devil? Is Satan a literal, immortal being? Did God create a devil? Some religions worship gods they believe to be evil spirits. Some of the great cathedrals of the Christian religion are embellished on their exterior with gargoyles, ugly and grotesque carved faces, which are supposed to frighten evil spirits away. All the evils and troubles in the world are caused by minds clashing with minds. But what is the real cause of those clashing of minds? Is there any connection between such contentious attitudes and the unseen spirit world? It is a mystery to almost everybody, but the Bible reveals a very real but invisible world—another dimension, as some choose to call it—existing along with our own, but absolutely indiscernible to our five senses. It is the spirit world. In the first chapter of Hebrews, we read of angels serving as God's secret messengers, sent forth to minister to those God has called to salvation and eternal life. In Ephesians 6 it is stated that our contentions and strivings are in fact not with other human people, but against "principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness [evil spirits] in high places." How can this be? Why is the world filled with such clashings and contentions between human minds? In Ephesians 2:2, humans have been walking "according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air [Satan], the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience." People simply do not realize that there is an invisible spirit power injecting into their minds these hostile attitudes. Even to professing Christians, these scriptures have been a mystery. Why do not even professing Christians understand this mystery? This invisible spirit world (Col. 1:15-16) is very real but because it is invisible it has been a mystery. But the fact that holy angels and evil spirits are invisible does not negate their existence. In actual truth the invisible spirit world is more real than the material and the visible. In fact, most people do not know what electricity is but are well aware of its reality. The Bible explains: "But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world [Satan] hath blinded the minds of them which believe not …" (II Cor. 4:3-4). Satan is the god of this world. The time of UNDERSTANDING has come.
The Supreme Invisible Power
It was made clear in chapter one that God from eternity has been a family, originally composed of two members: God, and the Word who almost 2,000 years ago became Jesus Christ. God is invisible—the supreme all powerful Spirit Being. We saw that God lives. He acts! What does he do? He is the creating family. Perhaps few realize, the very first thing God created was not the earth, suns, other planets—the universe. Before all these he created the angelic beings—a spirit world of myriads of angelic beings. The Great God through the Word first designed and created these SPIRIT BEINGS—angels, each individually created—millions or perhaps even billions of them! Angels are actual personal spirit beings, each having a mind of greater capacity and ability than human minds, capable of attitudes, purposes and intentions. It is stated that even Jesus as a human was made "a little lower than the angels" (Heb. 2:7). They are composed wholly of spirit. They were given self-containing life—life inherent—immortality. They have no blood circulating in veins and do not need the breath of air to sustain life, but have self-containing life inherent within them. Angels are, because created by God, called sons of God (Job 1:6), but they were not begotten and born sons of God.
Why the Creation of Angels?
Why were invisible spirit-composed angels created before all else? Why were they created even prior to the creation of physical matter and the physical universe? Why were they created at all? Jesus Christ said, "I work and my Father works" (see John 5:17). In John 1:1-5 it is revealed that God and the Word (the God family) live. In the preceding chapter we noted how they lived—in mutual love, total agreement and perfect harmony. But if they lived, what did they do? They created. One might say that by profession they were in the creating business. To aid them in the work of creating, governing and managing what was to be created, they first of all created other spirit beings on a lower plane than the God family. Angels were created to be ministers, agents, helpers in God's creation. They were created as servants of the living God. From eternity God was supreme, which to our human minds means God sat on the throne of all that existed or was to exist. In the 25th chapter of Exodus, we find an earthly description of the very throne of God in heaven, in the description of the ark built by Moses under God's instruction. On either side of God's throne was a super archangel, a cherub, whose wings stretched out covering the very throne of God. This signifies that these superior angels were involved in the very administration of the government of God over all of God's creation. They were aides, ministers, servants, assisting God. We read about angels in the first chapter of Hebrews. This chapter first speaks of Jesus. "He, … stamped with God's own character, sustains the universe with his word of power … and thus he is superior to the angels, as he has inherited a Name superior to theirs. For to what angel did God ever say, 'Thou art my son, today have I become thy father'? Or again, 'I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me'? And further, when introducing the Firstborn into the world, he says, 'Let all God's angels worship him.' While he says of angels, 'Who turns his angels into winds [spirits], his servants into flames of fire,' he says of the Son, 'God is thy throne for ever and ever, thy royal sceptre is the sceptre of equity: thou hast loved justice and hated lawlessness, therefore God, thy God, has consecrated thee with the oil of rejoicing beyond thy comrades'—and, 'Thou didst found the earth at the beginning… .' "To what angel did he ever say, 'Sit at my right hand, till I make your enemies a foot-stool for your feet'? Are not all angels merely spirits in the divine service, commissioned for the benefit of those who are to inherit salvation?" (verses 3-10, 13-14, Moffatt translation). Humans are created a little lower than angels, though we have the awesome potential of becoming far greater. This fact is expressed in the second chapter of Hebrews. It will come as news to most readers that angels were created before the earth and the physical universe were brought into existence. Job 38:1-7 shows the angels shouted for joy when God first created the earth. It is stated in both Genesis 1 and 2 that the earth was created at the same time as the entire physical universe. Angels are invisible, immortal spirit beings with power and knowledge superior to humans (II Pet. 2:11). They have seen all the activities of mankind on the earth and therefore know more about the human mind, psychology, sociology, science and all the arts than any living man.
God's Invisible Agents
God has had angels specifically assigned to supervise and protect his Church throughout all of its history (Rev. 1:4, 16, 20; 2:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14). He has angels who continually walk through the earth to observe and report back to him the overall conditions on earth (Rev. 5:6; Zech. 4:10; II Chron. 16:9). And God has angels specifically assigned to look after his begotten human children (Acts 12:15; Matt. 18:10). God promises: "For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways" (Ps. 91:11). Twelve of God's angels will be the gatekeepers in the new city of Jerusalem (Rev. 21:12), one for each tribe of Israel. These 12 may be assisting the archangel Michael now. Angels are messengers. They appeared to Abraham, Lot, Hagar, Moses, Manoah, Gideon, Elijah and many of the prophets and apostles. When these angels manifest themselves to human beings, they generally do so in the form of men. The Bible mentions three angels of high rank: Lucifer (Isa. 14:12), now Satan the devil; Gabriel, who appeared to Daniel on two occasions (Dan. 8:16; 9:21), to Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist (Luke 1:19), and later Mary, the mother of Jesus (Luke 1:26); and third, Michael, called one of the chief princes (Dan. 10:13), and whom Jude identifies as an archangel (Jude 9). Michael is the archangel specifically assigned to protect and minister to the 12 tribes of Israel (Dan. 12:1; 10:2-13, 21) and to the true Church of God today (Rev. 12:7).
The Supreme Creative Accomplishment
God assigns angels responsibilities, but God created within them MINDS—WITH POWER TO THINK, TO REASON, TO MAKE CHOICES AND DECISIONS! But there was one super-important quality that even God's creative powers could not create instantly by fiat—the same perfect, holy, righteous CHARACTER inherent in both God and the Word! This kind of character must be DEVELOPED, by the CHOICE and the INTENT of the one in whom it comes to exist. So mark well this super-vital truism—that perfect, holy and righteous character is the supreme feat of accomplishment possible for Almighty God the Creator—it is also the means to his ultimate supreme PURPOSE! His final objective! But HOW? I repeat, such perfect character must be developed. It requires the free choice and decision of the separate entity in whom it is to be created. But, further, even then it must be instilled by and from the Holy God who, only, has such righteous character to endow. But what do we mean by righteous character? Perfect, holy and righteous character is the ability in such separate entity to come to discern the true and right way from the false, to make voluntarily a full and unconditional surrender to God and his perfect way—to yield to be conquered by God—to determine even against temptation or self-desire, to live and to do the right. And even then such holy character is the gift of God. It comes by yielding to God to instill HIS LAW (God's right way of life) within the entity who so decides and wills. Actually, this perfect character comes only from God, as instilled within the entity of his creation, upon voluntary acquiescence, even after severe trial and test. I have devoted a few paragraphs to this point because it is the supreme pinnacle means in God's overall PURPOSE! Now as to the prehistoric angels: God 1) created them with minds capable of thinking, reasoning, making choices and decisions with self-will; and 2) revealed plainly to them HIS TRUE AND RIGHTEOUS WAY. But God of necessity allowed them free moral agency in accepting God's right way, or turning to contrary ways of their own devising. What was God's ULTIMATE OBJECTIVE for the angels? Beyond question it is that which, now, because of angelic rebellion, has become the transcendent potential of humans! As the testing ground, and opportunity for positive and active creative accomplishment, God created—brought into existence—the entire vast material universe. First of all, God had created angels. After that, and for angels and for humans who were to be created later, God formed and brought into existence the earth and the entire universe. God now created not only matter, but with and in it energy and such laws as man has discovered in the fields of physics and chemistry. God formed matter to be present in both the organic and the inorganic states. And so we come now to that which is revealed in Genesis 1:1: "In the beginning [of the physical universe] God created the heavens and the earth." These are material and physical. As previously stated, in the Authorized Version will be found the word heaven in the singular. But this originally was written by Moses in Hebrew. And in the Hebrew the word is in the plural—heavens—thus including not only our earth, but the entire material UNIVERSE. It is therefore indicated that at that time—after the creation of angels—the entire universe was brought into existence at the same time as the creation of our earth. I find strong indication of this in other biblical internal evidence, and also it is definitely stated in Genesis 2:4.
The Perfect Creation
The original Hebrew words (the words written by Moses) imply a perfect creation. God reveals himself as Creator of perfection, light and beauty. Every reference in the Bible describes the condition of any completed phase of God's creation as "very good"—perfect. This first verse of the Bible actually speaks of the original PHYSICAL creation in its entirety—the universe—including the earth, perhaps millions of years ago—as a perfect creation, beautiful and perfect as far as its creation was a finished, completed work. God is a perfectionist! In Job 38:4, 7, God is speaking specifically of the creation of this earth. He said all the angels (created "sons of God") shouted for joy at the creation of the earth. This reveals that angels were created before the creation of the earth—and probably before the material universe. The suns, planets and astral bodies are material substance. Angels are individually created spirit beings, composed solely of spirit. As mentioned earlier, it will come as a surprise to many to learn that angels inhabited this earth BEFORE the creation of man. This passage from Job implies it.
Angels on Earth Sinned
Other passages place angels on earth prior to man. Notice II Peter 2:4-6. First in time order, "angels that sinned." Next in time sequence, the antediluvian world beginning with Adam, carrying through to the Flood. After that, Sodom and Gomorrah. This book of books, containing the revealed knowledge of the Creator God, tells us that God created angels as composed of spirit. But can you imagine angels becoming sinning angels? Angels were created with power of thought, of decision and of choice, else they have no individuality of character. Since sin is the transgression of God's law, these angels rebelled against God's law, the basis of God's government. But how and when did the angels sin? Notice carefully what is revealed in II Peter 2:4-5: "For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; and spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly." The phrase "cast … down to hell" in the above verse is an English expression translated from the Greek tartaroo, from tartaros, found in no other passage in all the Bible. Tartaros means a place or condition of restraint. These verses show that universal sin brings universal destruction to the physical earth. The antediluvian sin, culminating with the Flood, was worldwide, universal sin. Notice: "… the earth was filled with violence … for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth … for the earth is filled with violence …" (Gen. 6:11-13). "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord… . Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God" (verses 8-9). All flesh had sinned—over the whole earth. But only Noah"walked with God." So, the Flood destroyed the whole earth—all but Noah and his family. The homosexual and other sins of Sodom and Gomorrah spread over the territory of those two cities. And physical destruction came to their entire area. The sin of the angels was worldwide; the destruction of the physical was worldwide. (And there is reason to believe, as will be explained in chapter seven, universe-wide.) The verses quoted above place the sinning of the angels prior to the antediluvian sins that started with Adam, prior to the creation of man. And that should be a surprise revealing of one phase of the mystery! Angels inhabited this earth before the creation of man. It is revealed in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 that God placed the archangel Lucifer, a cherub, on a throne on the earth. He was placed there as a ruler over the entire earth. God intended him to rule the earth by administering the government of God over the earth. And the government of God was administered on earth until the rebellion of the sinning angels. How long these angels inhabited the earth before the creation of man is not revealed. It might have been millions—or even billions—of years. More on that later. But these angels sinned. Sin is the transgression of God's law (I John 3:4). And God's law is the basis of God's government. So we know these angels, apparently a third of all the angels (Rev. 12:4), sinned—rebelled against the government of God. And sin carries penalties. The penalty for the sin of the angels is not death, as it is for man. Angels are immortal spirit beings and cannot die. These spirit beings had been given dominion over the PHYSICAL EARTH as a possession and an abode. The universal, worldwide sin of the angels resulted in the physical destruction of the face of the earth.
God Rules His Creation
God is Creator. God is also Ruler over his creation. He preserves what he creates by his government. What God creates, he has created for a purpose—to be used, improved, developed, preserved and maintained. And this use is regulated by God's government. When the angels rebelled against God's government, the development and improvement of the earth—"putting the icing on the cake"—ceased. The preservation and development of the physical earth and all its original beauty and glory ceased—and physical destruction to the surface of the earth resulted! By this angelic sin, Lucifer became Satan the devil and his angels became demons. God is Creator, Preserver and Ruler. Satan is destroyer! So, now we read in Jude 6-7: "And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire." Now back to Genesis 1:1-2. Verse 1, as stated above, implies a perfect creation. God is the author of life, of beauty, of perfection. Satan has brought only darkness, ugliness, imperfection, violence. Verse 1 shows the creation of a perfect, if unfinished earth, glorious and beautiful. Verse 2 reveals the result of the sin of the angels. "And the earth was [became] without form, and void." The words "without form, and void" are translated from the Hebrew tohu and bohu. A better translation is "waste and empty" or "chaotic, in confusion and in a state of decay." The word was is elsewhere in Genesis also translated became, as in Genesis 19:26. In other words, the earth, originally created perfect and beautiful, had now become chaotic, waste and empty, like our moon, except earth's surface was covered with water. David was inspired to reveal how God renewed the face of the earth: "Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth" (Ps. 104:30).
A Surprising Truth
Now another surprise for most readers. Here is another bit of the missing dimension in knowledge, actually revealed in the Bible, but unrecognized by religion, by science and by higher education. From verse 2 of Genesis 1 on, the remainder of this first chapter of the Bible is not describing the original creation of the earth. But it is describing a renewing of the face of the earth, after it had become waste and empty as a result of the sin of the angels. What is described from verse 2 on, in the supposed creation chapter of the Bible, did occur, according to the Bible, approximately 6,000 years ago. But that could have been millions or trillions of years after the actual creation of the earth described in verse 1! I will comment later on the length of time it might have taken before all earth's angels turned to rebellion. The earth had become waste and empty. God did not create it waste and empty, or in a state of decay. God is not the author of confusion (I Cor. 14:33). This same Hebrew word—tohu—meaning waste and empty, was inspired in Isaiah 45:18, where it is translated "in vain." Using the original Hebrew word, as originally inspired, it reads: "For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain [tohu], he formed it to be inhabited." Continue now with the remainder of verse 2 of Genesis 1 (the earth had become chaotic, waste and empty): "And darkness was upon the face of the deep [the ocean or fluid surface of the earth]. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness" (verses 2-4). Satan is the author of darkness. The rebellion of the angels had caused the darkness. God is the author of light and truth. Light displays and enhances beauty, and also exposes evil. Darkness hides both. The verses that follow in this first chapter of the Bible describe the renewing of the face of the earth, yielding beautiful lawns, trees, shrubs, flowers, vegetation—then the creation of fish and fowl, animal life, and finally man.
The Great Lucifer
But first, before coming to man, we need to fill in the prehistory portion. How did this sin of the angels come to take place? How did it start? Remember, God the Creator preserves, improves and enhances what he creates by his government. What he creates is created to be used. This earth was to be inhabited and used by angels, originally. When God placed angels—apparently a third of all (Rev. 12:4)—on the newly created, perfect, beautiful and glorious earth, he set over them, on a throne, to administer the government of God, an archangel—the great cherub Lucifer. There were only two other beings of this extremely high rank of cherub, Michael and Gabriel. So far as is revealed, these are the supreme pinnacle of spirit-composed beings within God's power to create. This Lucifer was a super being of awesome, majestic beauty, dazzling brightness, supreme knowledge, wisdom and power—perfect as God created him! (Ezek. 28:15). But remember, there is one thing God cannot create automatically and instantly by fiat, and that is perfect righteous character. So God of necessity created in him the power of choice and decision, or he could not have been a being of individuality and character. At this juncture a truth must be explained almost never understood. God creates in a principle of duality. I have compared it to a woman baking a cake. When she takes the cake out of the oven, it is not yet a finished production until she puts the icing on the cake. When God created the earth and other planets this system of duality was involved. What had been created was perfect as far as it existed up to that point. But it was not yet a finished or completed creation. God intended the angels to add their own workmanship to the earth's surface. He intended them to work over the surface of the earth, to improve it, to embellish it, beautify it—in other words "put the icing on the cake." The same principle of duality applies to the creation of the angels. Perfect righteous character cannot be automatically created by fiat. The angels themselves, of necessity, were required to have their part in the development of character, and their creation could not be actually finished until this character had been perfected.
Lucifer, Later Satan
I want you to grasp fully the supreme magnificence of this zenith of God's created beings. Two different biblical passages tell us of his original created state. First, notice what is revealed in Isaiah 14. (This famous chapter begins with the time, shortly ahead of us now, when the Eternal God shall have intervened in this world's affairs. The people of Israel—not necessarily or exclusively the Israelis or Judah—shall have been taken as captive slaves, and God shall intervene and bring them back to the original promised homeland.) "And it shall come to pass in the day that the Lord shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve, that thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased! The Lord hath broken the staff of the wicked, and the sceptre of the rulers. He who smote the people in wrath … he that ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted, and none hindereth" (verses 3-6). This is NOT speaking of the king of ancient Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar. The time is yet ahead of us—but shortly ahead. It is speaking of the modern successor of that ancient Nebuchadnezzar. It is speaking of the one who will be RULER of the soon-coming resurrected "Holy Roman Empire"—a sort of soon-coming "United States of Europe"—a union of 10 nations to rise up out of or following the Common Market of today (Rev. 17). Britain will NOT be in that empire soon to come. This united Europe will conquer Israel—if you know who Israel is today, and I do not mean Judah, known as the Israelis today. All that involves a number of other prophecies, which there is not room here to explain. (This is explained in our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy.) But this "king of Babylon" shall at the time of this prophecy have been utterly defeated by the intervention of the living Christ in his power and glory. Continue on: "The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet: they break forth into singing. Yea, the fir trees rejoice … and the cedars of Lebanon, saying, Since thou art laid down, no feller is come up against us" (verses 7-8). (I want to interpose an interesting bit of information right here. The cedars of Lebanon, biblically famous, are almost totally cut down. Only one small clump of these trees remains, high in the mountains. I have seen and photographed them. However, perhaps the finest specimen of the cedars of Lebanon surviving on earth is on what was previously our Ambassador College campus in England. We prized it highly. It is interesting to see that this prophecy, written some 500 years B.C., should record the fact that these beautiful and stately trees would become so largely felled.) This passage in Isaiah 14 speaks of the doom of this coming human king at the hands of the glorified, all-powerful Christ. It refers to him as Satan's chief political ruler and military destroyer, to be totally deceived by Satan in the years very shortly ahead of us.
Satan's Earthly Throne
Then, coming to verse 12, this human earthly type of Satan the devil suddenly transposes to Satan himself—the former archangel, Lucifer: "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!" A better translation here is: "How art thou, who didst weaken the nations, cut down to the ground." In the Revised Standard Version: "How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low!" This the former Lucifer did through the human political-military leader in his power—spoken of in the first 11 verses. The name Lucifer means "Shining star of the dawn," or "Bringer of light," as God first created him. Now continue: "For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars [angels] of God." Notice, Lucifer had a throne; he was a ruler. His throne was on earth, for he was going to ascend into heaven. Continue: "I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation [God's heavenly throne], in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High" (verses 13-14). Actually, it is plain that Lucifer had nothing less in mind than knocking the Creator God off his throne and becoming supreme God himself. Apparently he planned to put himself in place of God, over the universe! But finally, as the context returns again to the human type: "Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell [Heb. sheol], to the sides of the pit" (verse 15). From that point, the thought returns to the human king. Lucifer was the supreme masterpiece of God's creative power, as an individually created being, threatening, as a Frankenstein monster, to destroy his own Maker—and assume all his powers to rule the whole universe. Literally this prophecy is speaking of a war in heaven to occur in our present time described in Revelation 12:7-9: "And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 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." And also Daniel 12:1-2: "And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt." Satan's rebel rule was NOT a government based upon the principle of love—of giving, of outgoing concern for the good of others, but based on SELF-CENTEREDNESS, on vanity, lust and greed, on envy, jealousy, the spirit of competition, hatred, violence and destruction, on darkness and error, instead of light and truth, on ugliness instead of beauty. Notice here, once again, the principle of duality. The above scripture applies to a time prior to the creation of the first human, Adam. But in Revelation 12:7 and in Daniel 12:1, Satan once again at the end of the 6,000 years allotted to his rule on earth's throne, tries once again to seize God's throne in heaven.
Lucifer a Created Being
Look now at the other biblical passage describing this supreme angelic creation of God, in Ezekiel 28. Actually, the entire concept in Ezekiel 26 speaks of the ancient great commercial city of Tyre. It was the commercial metropolis of the ancient world, even as Babylon was the political capital. Tyre was the New York, the London, the Tokyo, or the Paris of the ancient world. The ancient Tyre, port of the world's shippers and merchants, gloried herself in her beauty, even as Paris in our time. Chapter 27 carries on with comparisons to passages in the 18th chapter of the book of Revelation referring to a politico-religious leader to come (verses 9-19). But coming to chapter 28, the theme comes more completely to the time just now ahead of us, the same time depicted in Isaiah 14. Ezekiel 28 speaks of the prince of Tyre, an earthly ruler, of whom the ancient king of Tyre was a type. God says to the prophet Ezekiel: "Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus [actually referring to a powerful religious leader to arise SOON, in our time], 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: Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee: with thy wisdom and with thine understanding thou hast gotten thee riches, and hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures [or "treasuries"—RSV] … and thine heart is lifted up because of thy riches: therefore thus saith the Lord God; Because thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God; behold, therefore I will bring strangers upon thee, the terrible of the nations … 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" (Ezek. 28:2-8). (Compare with II Thessalonians 2:3-4, speaking of "that man of sin … who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God … so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.")
What a Super Being!
But at this point, as in Isaiah 14, the lesser human antitype lifts to a greater spirit being. Instead of the prince of Tyre—a human man—it now speaks of the KING of Tyre. This is the same Lucifer. Ezekiel the prophet continues: "Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, 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" (verses 11-12). Please read that again! God would never say anything like that of a human man. This superb spirit being filled up the sum total of wisdom, perfection and beauty. He was the supreme pinnacle, the masterpiece, of God's creation, as an individually created being, the greatest one in the almighty power of God to create! The tragic thing is that he rebelled against his Maker! "Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God" (verse 13). He had inhabited this earth. His throne was here. "Every precious stone was thy covering … the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created" (verse 13). He was a created being—not born human. He was a spirit being—not human flesh. Great genius and skill in music was created in him. Now that he has become perverted in all thinking, acting and being, he is the real author of modern perverted music and the modern rock beat—of discordant moans, squawks, shrieks, wails—physically and emotionally excitable beats—unhappy, discouraged moods. Think of all the supreme talent, ability and potential in a being created with such capacities. And all perverted! All gone sour—all dissipated, turned to hatred, destruction, hopelessness! Yet, take courage. The awesome human potential, if we care enough about it to resist Satan's wiles and evils and discouragements and to persevere in God's way, is infinitely superior and higher than Lucifer's—even as created, before he turned to rebellion and iniquity! But continuing the particular revelation of this crucially important missing dimension in knowledge: "Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so," says God of this Lucifer. This takes us back to the 25th chapter of Exodus, where God gave Moses the pattern for the ark of the covenant. The description begins with verse 10, and verses 18-20 show, in the material pattern, the two cherubs who were stationed at each end of the very throne of God in heaven—the throne of the government of God over the entire universe. The wings of the two cherubs covered the throne of God.
Trained at Universe Headquarters
This Lucifer, then, had been stationed at the very throne of God. He was trained and experienced in the administration of the government of God. God chose such a being, well-experienced and trained, to be the king ruling the government of God over the angels who inhabited the whole earth. Continue: "… thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire." This is not talking about any human being. But continue: "Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity [lawlessness] was found in thee" (Ezek. 28:15). He had complete knowledge, understanding and wisdom. But he also was given full powers of reasoning, thinking, making decisions, making his choice. And, with all this foreknowledge—even of results and consequences—this superb being, the highest that even God could create by fiat, turned to rebellion against his Maker—against the way that produces every good. He turned to lawlessness. He had been trained in the administration of perfect law and order. As long as Lucifer continued in this perfect way, there was happiness and joy unspeakable over the whole earth. There was glorious peace—beautiful harmony, perfect love, cooperation. The government of God produced a wonderfully happy state—as long as Lucifer was loyal in the conduct of God's government.
What Caused the Angels' Sin?
What caused the angels on earth to sin, to turn to lawlessness? Certainly the ordinary angels did not persuade this great super being to turn traitor. No, it was in him that iniquity was found. But, after how long? We don't know. God does not reveal that! It could have been any number of years from one or less to millions times millions. And then, even after Lucifer himself made the decision to rebel and try to invade God's heaven to take over the universe, it is not revealed how long it took him to persuade all of the angels under him to turn traitor and follow him. I know well the method he used. He uses the same method still today in leading deceived humans into disloyalty, rebellion, and self-centered opposition against God's government. First, he turns one or two to envy, jealousy and resentment over an imagined injustice—then into disloyalty. Then he uses that one or two, like a rotten apple in a crate, to stir up resentment, feelings of self-pity, disloyalty and rebellion in others next to them. And, as each rotten apple rots those next to it until the whole crate is rotten, so Satan proceeds. If, in the government of God on earth today, the "rotten apples" are not thrown out early enough, they would destroy the whole government. But, once thrown out of the crate, they cannot do any more damage to those in the crate. But think how long it must have taken the soured and embittered Lucifer to turn millions of holy angels into resentment, bitterness, disloyalty, and finally open and vicious rebellion. It could have taken hundreds, thousands or millions of years. This was all before the first human was created. All this happened after the original creation of the earth, described in verse 1 of Genesis 1. Verse 2 of this creation chapter describes a condition resulting from this sin of the angels. The events described in verse 2, therefore, may have occurred millions of years after the original creation of the earth. The earth, therefore, may have been created millions of years ago. But continue this passage in Ezekiel 28: "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 [remove] thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. 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 …" (verses 16-17). At this point the context returns to the soon-to-appear, human, religious-political ruler—of whom the prince of ancient Tyre was a forerunner. Earlier in this chapter, I showed you how physical destruction, ugliness and darkness had covered the face of the earth, as the result of the sin of Lucifer (who is now the devil) and these "angels that sinned" (now demons), and how in six days God had renewed the face of the earth (Gen. 1:2-25).
Why the Creation of MAN?
But why did God create man on the earth (Gen. 1:26)? Look at this situation as God does. God has given us humans minds, like the mind of God, only inferior and limited. God made us in his image, after his likeness (form and shape), only composed of matter instead of spirit. But God says, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus'" (Phil. 2:5). We can, to some degree, think even as God thinks. How must God have looked at the situation, as he started renewing the face of the earth—after the colossal debacle of the angels! He had created a beautiful, perfect creation in the earth. He populated it with holy angels—probably millions of them. He put over them, as king, on an earthly throne, the archangel—the cherub Lucifer. Lucifer was the supreme masterpiece of God's creative power as a single separately created spirit being. He was the most perfect in beauty, power, mind, knowledge, intellect, wisdom, within the almighty power of God to create. God can create nothing higher or more perfect, by instantaneous fiat. Yet this great being, knowledgeable, trained and experienced at God's own throne in heaven over the universe and the administration of the government of God, had rejected that government, corrupted his way, rebelled against administering or even obeying it. He had led all his angels astray and into the sin of rebellion. Now consider further. Apparently the entire universe had been created also at the time of the earth's creation. There is no evidence either in God's revealed Word, nor in science, that any of the planets in endless outer space had been inhabited with any form of life. But God does nothing in vain. He always has a purpose. Apparently all such planets in the entire universe NOW are waste and empty—decayed (tohu and bohu)—like the earth was, as described in Genesis 1:2. But God did not create them in such conditions of decay—like our moon. Decay is not an original created condition—it is a condition resulting from a process of deterioration. Evidently if the now-fallen angels had maintained the earth in its original beautiful condition, improved it, carried out God's instructions, and obeyed his government, they would have been offered the awesome potential of populating and carrying out a tremendous creative program throughout the entire universe. When they turned traitor on earth, their sin must have also brought simultaneously physical destruction to the other planets throughout the universe, which were potentially and conditionally put in subjection to them.
Earth to Become Universe Headquarters
It will be explained in chapter seven of this work that God's purpose is to make this earth, ultimately, the headquarters of the entire universe. Remember, this earth, originally, was intended to be the abode of a third of all the angels. The angels, beholding the earth at its creation, found it so beautiful and perfect they shouted spontaneously for JOY (Job 38:4-7). It was to provide a glorious opportunity for them. They were to work it, produce from it, and preserve and increase its beauty. And at this point, it is well to understand the nature of God's original creation: It is like the unfinished furniture available in some stores. This furniture is "in the raw"—it is finished all but for the final varnish, polish or paint. Some can save money by doing this finishing themselves—provided they have the skill to do so. This furniture may be of fine and superb quality—yet lacking the final beautifying completion. So it is with God's creation. It is perfect, but subject to a beautifying finish that God intended angels to accomplish. The original "unfinished" creation was produced by God alone. But he intended angels, prehistorically, and MAN, now, to utilize creative power—to finish this part in God's creation—of adding the final beautifying and utilitarian phases of what shall be the FINAL COMPLETED CREATION! And whether or not it had been revealed to the angels, it was a supreme TRIAL AND TEST. It was to be the PROVING GROUND of obedience to GOD'S GOVERNMENT and their fitness to develop into final finished creation the millions of other planets in the vast universe. For what is revealed in God's Word indicates that God had created the entire PHYSICAL universe at the same time he created the earth. The seventh word in Genesis 1:1 should be translated "heavens." This word includes the vast universe, not just this earth's atmosphere. Radioactive elements and the law of radioactivity prove that there was a time when MATTER did not exist. GOD is a spirit. God is composed of spirit. God was before ALL ELSE—the CREATOR of all. Angels were created prior to the earth. What God reveals strongly implies that matter had never existed before the original creation of the earth—that the entire physical universe was brought into being at that time.
God's Purpose for Angels
So the angel potential was to take over the entire universe—to improve and finish the billions of physical planets surrounding the uncountable stars, many of which are SUNS. The sun in our solar system is merely an average-size sun. Some that we see as stars are actually many, many times larger than our sun. Our solar system, vast beyond the imagination of most minds, is only a part of our galaxy, and there are many galaxies! In other words, the physical UNIVERSE that the mighty God created is vast beyond imagination! HOW GREAT is the GREAT GOD! He intended angels to have a vital part in the final creation of the endless universe! (But God may not have then fully revealed this awesome potential to the angels, for one third of them set out to take it from him by force, without first qualifying.) For this far-reaching purpose, God established his GOVERNMENT on earth over them. The administration of the GOVERNMENT OF GOD over this globe was delegated to the super archangel—the great cherub Lucifer. Bear in mind that even the holy angels and archangels—including this super cherub Lucifer—of necessity were endowed with ability to think, to reason, to form attitudes, and to make choices and decisions. As explained previously, God started this Lucifer out with everything going for him. He sealed up the sum of wisdom, beauty and perfection. He was PERFECT in all his ways from the instant he was created UNTIL INIQUITY—rebellion, lawlessness—was found in him (Ezek. 28:15). He had been trained and was thoroughly experienced in administration of the GOVERNMENT OF GOD at the very throne of the endless UNIVERSE! He was one of the two cherubs whose wings covered the throne of God the MOST High (Ezek. 28:14; Ex. 25:20).
How Sin Entered
He was created gloriously beautiful—perfect in beauty, but he allowed vanity to seize him. Then he turned to erroneous reasoning. God's law—the basis of God's government—is the way of LOVE—outgoing concern for the good and welfare of others, love toward God in obedience, humility and worship—the way of giving, sharing, helping, cooperating. He reasoned that competition would be better than cooperation. It would be an incentive to excel, to try harder, to accomplish. There would be more pleasure in serving SELF and more enjoyment. He turned against God's law of LOVE. He became jealous of God, envious, and resentful against God. He allowed lust and greed to fill him, and he became bitter. This inspired a spirit of violence! He deliberately became his Maker's adversary and enemy. That was his choice, not God's—yet allowed by God! God changed his NAME to what he became, SATAN the DEVIL—which means adversary, competitor, enemy. Satan directed his supernatural powers henceforth to EVIL. He became bitter not only against God, but against God's law. He used his subtile wiles of deception to lead the angels under him into disloyalty, rebellion and revolt against the Creator and finally into a WAR of aggression and violence to attempt to depose God and seize the throne of the UNIVERSE. As long as Lucifer remained loyal and administered the GOVERNMENT OF GOD faithfully, this earth was filled with wonderful and perfect PEACE. The angels were vigorously HAPPY to the extent of JOY! The law of God's government is THE WAY OF LIFE that CAUSES and produces peace, happiness, prosperity and well-being. Sin is the WAY OF LIFE that has caused all existing EVILS. The penalty of sin by the angels was not death—for God had made them immortal spirit beings who cannot die. What God gave them was THIS EARTH as their abode and opportunity to qualify to possess and beautify the entire UNIVERSE. Their penalty (they are still awaiting final judgment up to now) was disqualification—forfeiture of their grand opportunity, perversion of mind, and a colossal earthwide CATACLYSM of destruction wreaked upon this earth. As a result, the earth came to the condition briefly described in Genesis 1:2. Lucifer was created a perfect bringer of LIGHT: Now he became author of DARKNESS, error, confusion and evil. So the rebellion of the angels that sinned (II Pet. 2:4-6; Jude 6-7; Isa. 14:12-15; Ezek. 28:12-17) brought this extreme cataclysm to the earth. How must God have looked at this situation after the colossal debacle of Lucifer and the angels that sinned? LUCIFER was created the most perfect in beauty, mentality, knowledge, power, intellect and wisdom within the almighty power of God to create in a being, with power to think, reason, make choices and decisions on his own. God knew that no higher, more perfect being could be created as an initial creation.
Origin of Demons
Yet this superior being, trained and experienced at the very throne of the GOVERNMENT OF GOD over the universe, had resorted to wrong reasoning and made a diabolical, perverted decision. He worked on the angels under him until he turned their minds to rebellion also. This, incidentally, might have taken Lucifer millions of years. In all probability he had to begin perverting the minds of his angels one at a time, at first. He had to cause them to feel dissatisfied, wronged by God, and inject into them resentment and bitterness. When Lucifer allowed thoughts of vanity, jealousy, envy, lust and greed, then resentment and rebellion, to enter and occupy his mind, SOMETHING HAPPENED TO HIS MIND! His mind became perverted, distorted, twisted! His thinking became warped. God gave him and the angels control over their own minds. They can never straighten them out—never again think rationally, honestly, rightly. I have had a number of personal experiences with demons through a few demon-possessed people. I have cast out demons through the name of Christ and power of the Holy Spirit. Some demons are silly, like spoiled children. Some are crafty, sharp, shrewd, subtile. Some are belligerent, some are sassy, some are sullen and morose. But all are perverted, warped, twisted. Do Satan and his demons affect and even influence humans and even governments today? Do evil spirits affect even your own life? These questions will be answered in chapter four of this book. As God surveyed this cataclysmic tragedy, he must have realized that since the highest, most perfect being within his almighty power to create, had turned to rebellion, it left God himself as the only being who would not and cannot sin. And God is the Father of the divine God family or kingdom. Notice John 1:1-5. The Word who was "made flesh" (verse 14) has existed always—from eternity—with the Father. God the Father has created all things—the entire universe—by him who became Jesus Christ (Eph. 3:9; Col. 1:16-17). When Jesus was on earth, he prayed to God, his Father in heaven. The Father spoke of Jesus as "my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Jesus lived on earth as a human, tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin. The fourth word in the English Bible is "God" (Gen. 1:1). And the original Hebrew word is Elohim, a noun plural in form, like the English word family, church or group. The divine family is God. There is one God—the one family, consisting of more than one Person. God saw that no being less than God, in the God family, could be certainly relied on never to sin—to be like God—who cannot sin. To fulfill his purpose for the entire vast universe, God saw that nothing less than himself (as the God family) could be absolutely relied upon to carry out that supreme purpose in the entire universe.
Why Humans Succeed Fallen Angels
God then purposed to reproduce himself, through humans, made in his image and likeness, but made first from material flesh and blood, subject to death if there is sin unrepented of—yet with the possibility of being born into the divine family begotten by God the Father. God saw how this could be done through Christ, who gave himself for that purpose. And that is why God put man on the earth! That is what caused God to do this most colossal, tremendous thing ever undertaken by the supreme, almighty God—to reproduce himself! The following chapter will make this undeniably clear. One last important comment before ending this chapter. God's supreme overall purpose is to create, even to the extent of reproducing himself, and also that God must reign supreme over all his creation. Apparently God has chosen this earth to become his universe headquarters, and the seat of even the supreme throne of God. (See I Corinthians 15:24.) But Satan had overthrown the government of God on the earth. Now God purposed to restore his government over the earth through man, created in the image of God and finally to become part of the God family. We should heed Paul's admonition not to be ignorant of Satan's existence, or of his devices, nor let him get an advantage of us (II Cor. 2:11). Our supremely important purpose will be made clear in following chapters.
You have heard the saying about "good news and bad news." The latter part of this chapter has given you the bad news. The good news is God's purpose through mankind and the fact that the two thirds of the angels who are holy and righteous outnumber the demons and remain as God's invisible agents to minister to and help in the righteous character development of the myriad of humans who shall yet become the sons and heirs of the Supreme God and members of the great God family.