We're in a drought!
Many brethren are aware of this famine, during which very little sustenance has come down the pipeline in recent years regarding Bible prophecy. Most teachers busy themselves by rehashing the same old, and easily discerned territory from 'the beginning of sorrows' in Matthew 24:3-8. In contrast to this typical examination of Biblical prophecy, we offer a sound, viable and fresh alternative to the standard and often repeated ideas that are so prevalent today. Are we correct? Time will tell!
Our research began with an in-depth examination into the prophetic significance of the seven letters in Revelations 2 & 3. The points made throughout the entirety of this article should be considered introductory remarks in a much broader discussion on that topic.
To more fully grasp what our research has uncovered, the reader must first be transported back in time to a mysterious world from long ago. We will return to an age long before Adam and examine the once thriving evil empire that existed in the physical world below. There is much to the story!
Lucifer, leader of a rebellion in Heaven, was originally fashioned to be the greatest of all the angels. Scripture portrays this spirit being as having been in a friendly relationship with God from the very beginning. Notice, "Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering...Thou was perfect in thy ways from the day thou was created..."--Ezek. 28:12b-13a; KJV. God did not create the Devil as many have assumed. To the contrary, our Great Creator made a very wonderful and magnificent angel of exquisite beauty and ability who later chose to turn itself* into the ultimate adversary of all that is good. (*For numerous reasons we do not uniformly utilize a gender specific pronoun when speaking of the Devil.)
Previous to the fall, this Lucifer had been promoted to the highest known rank in Heaven below God. The prophet Ezekiel mentions this special status. Notice, "...Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou was upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire..."-- Ezek. 28:14; KJV. This super-angel was permitted to walk freely in Heaven with a very special status as guardian there.
The word anointed as it is used in Ezek. 28:14 basically indicates a special religious rite being applied to the declaring or setting apart of a person (or thing) as sacred, or having some special status. Regarding humans in this specific application, we see anointing performed on kings, prophets, and priests as a way of officially declaring them as set apart and blessed of God in their special office. It is in this sense that we can safely consider Ezekiel to be describing Lucifer as having originally been appointed to some very special status of high rank in Heaven.
The word cherub refers to a special class of angelic creature. Most of these types of angelic beings are seen possessing wings and are widely held to be more awesome and powerful than the other more common variety of angels. It is this particular variety of angelic being which guarded against anyone entering again into the garden of Eden after Adam and Eve were banished (Gen. 3:22-24). Examples describing the nature of these beings can be seen in the book of Ezekiel throughout chapters 1 and 10. Lucifer was also one of this special order of spirit beings. The statement regarding Lucifer as the anointed cherub implies a special staus above all others in the angelic realm as no other is ever said to have been anointed to such a position.
The use of the word covereth in describing Lucifer's office in Heaven refers directly to his position at God's throne, carrying the sense of defense, or protection. It is the same Hebrew wording used to represent the two cherubim which sat atop the mercy seat on the Ark of the Covenant. Many rightly see the mercy seat on the Ark as representing the very seat, or throne of God in Heaven. Peloubet's Bible Dictionary says, "The lid [mercy seat] of the ark of the covenant...was a solid plate of gold...on each of which were figures of cherubim, and represented a kind of throne of God, where he would hear prayer and from which he spoke words of comfort."
Also, Merrill F. Unger's Commentary on the Old Testament states, "That great angel belongs to the order of cherubim, associated with the throne of God as defenders of divine holiness...Adonai Yahweh addressed him as the anointed cherub that covereth...The Lord declared concerning his exalted position: I have set (appointed) thee so. His great appointment as guarding cherub, or protector was over the very throne of God...Almighty God, of course, needs no such defense. But it is not a question of what God needs, but rather, a revelation about what God has chosen to arrange. The first glorious estate of the cherub-angel, before he fell, is evidently described in these words: Thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire..."
Unger certainly understood Scripture to have portrayed Lucifer as being from the highest order of angels, and placed as chief guardian of God's throne in Heaven. One translation states it thusly: "You were the anointed cherub with overshadowing wings. I placed you so that you were on the sacred hill of God, and you walked amidst the flaming stones..."--Ezek. 28:14; NBV (New Berkley Version). It is unavoidable to conclude anything less than Lucifer being placed as guardian and protector of God's throne in Heaven, at some point in the far reaches of history's antiquity. This must have been prier to Earth's creation and clearly cannot mean that Lucifer's first estate was ever on Earth.
Notice, "Remember the angels that did not stay within the limits of their proper authority; but abandoned their own dwelling place..."--Jude 6: TEV (Today's English Version). Some teachers work to link this passage with Job 38:7 and Rev. 12:3-4 in an attempt to promote the idea that Lucifer and the angels were placed on Earth by God. However, the text never says such a thing. Since angels were present to see the first spark of Earth's creation process initiated (Job 38:7), then it's wholly impossible for their first dwelling place to have ever been on Earth. They were created spirit beings and their first home could not possibly have been on Earth.
The book of Job tells us that God created many if not all of the angels prior to making planet Earth. Consider, the words of God as He speaks directly to Job: "Where were you when I made the world? If you know so much, tell me about it. Who decided how large it would be? Who stretched the measuring line over it? Do you know the answers? What holds the pillars that support the earth? Who laid the cornerstone of the world? In the dawn of that day the stars sang together, and the heavenly beings shouted for joy..."--Job 38:4-7; TEV. The singing stars and heavenly beings represent angels. This figurative style of language regarding angels being referred to as stars can be seen throughout the Holy Bible (Ps. 148:3; Is. 14:12; Matt. 2:2, 9; 24:29-30; Jude 13; Rev. 9:1).
Revelation 12:3-4 indicates that a red dragon symbolic of an already fallen Satan was the personage responsible for wrongly sending one third of the angels from Heaven to Earth. Jude speaks of this departure from Heaven, and not one from Earth.
(Before continuing we must first address an objection that some would raise regarding a particular statement at Ezek. 28:13, which states, "Thou hast been in the garden of God..." Some declare this statement to be a proof-text in determining that Lucifer was appointed to rule on Earth, yet there is no assurance this statement ever intended Adam's garden to be the garden in question. Unger says, "It is inconsequential whether Eden, the garden of God refers to a primal Eden or the Eden of Genesis 3. Satan has been in both." Unger undoubtedly sees the possibility of Ezekiel's Eden to have been some other garden than Adam's in Genesis.)
When we came to the realization that Scripture portrayed Lucifer as having been appointed to the very special role of guarding God's throne in Heaven we were immediately struck with a burning desire to know why God would have needed the protection in the first place. As Unger commented above, it makes little sense that Almighty God would actually need protecting. Nevertheless, a reasonable explanation for why God would have placed Lucifer as guardian at His throne does exist. If one takes into consideration God's pattern of allowing freedom of choice by not creating the angels and mankind like robots, one comes closer to answering this very important and far-reaching question.
To understand why God would have appointed Lucifer to be the guardian of His throne, we must first consider a repeating pattern of how He deals with other created beings who possess the freedom of choice. The Almighty Creator gave angels and humans that characteristic of volition by which we are all free to make choices for ourselves. We see how Adam and Eve were both placed in a garden on Earth where they were to be fruitful and multiply, with the strict warning not to eat from a particular tree. Did God force them to obey? Certainly not. Did they sense God's constant and immediate presence in their lives throughout each minute of every day? Not according to the Biblical account. A reading of the events in Genesis reveals that God left our first parents alone in a garden after giving them knowledge and instruction, allowing them to be tempted--and they chose the wrong path. The end result was banishment from their paradise.
That shows us this pattern: God withdraws His presence from the awareness of His created beings, leaving them an opportunity to prove which path they will choose. It is a repeating pattern that God utilizes throughout the entire Bible as a means of testing the character of His created beings. Even Christians today live under this same pattern. The individual is called of God through the Holy Spirit and responds by choosing His way. They see His ways in the Bible and respond by following the example of Jesus Christ in their everyday lives and by working to overcome the world around them. Yet none of us has actually ever seen God. That is living faith.
We have been left to choose right from wrong after coming to a certain amount of knowledge and instruction. God remains hidden and watches to see if each individual will live faithfully, being led by the Holy Spirit. This is God's pattern as seen in Scripture, evidenced throughout the Old and New Testaments. God's nature of dealing with His created beings apparently remains consistent throughout all times (Mal. 3:6a; Heb. 13:8).
If we apply this regular pattern in God's mode of operation to our discussion concerning Lucifer's fall, the picture begins to take shape. God provided Lucifer the opportunity to choose, just as God permits the same with mankind today. He appointed Lucifer as guardian of Heaven, which ultimately allowed that super-angel the freedom to prove whether or not it would guard as God commanded. The pattern cries out for a departure on God's part leaving the guardian alone. The only logical sense sees Lucifer being left in charge of Heaven while God departed the scene. God's word clearly said, "...Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so..." The only reason God would have apppointed this angel to be guardian in the first place was because He was leaving the scene. No other interpretation makes sense according to all pertinent Scriptures.
In the minds of the angels left behind in Heaven, it must have merely seemed that God had departed. He would certainly have been watching very closely even though the parties involved were likely oblivious to His continuing presence. No other conclusion makes sense from the relevant Scriptures for explaining why God would have appointed a guardian or protector of His throne in the first place.
As stated, a number of commentators have wrongly thought that Lucifer was still somehow in good standing with God while below on Earth. However, Rev. 12:3-4 clearly shows that it was a red dragon that rebelliously directed one third of the angels to Earth; and not God. There is absolutely no evidence from Scripture that the Creator ever place Lucifer anywhere on Earth, but rather only as guardian of His throne in Heaven.
Part of this wrong thinking stems from a misunderstanding of what Isaiah 14:12-13 meant to convey. Notice, "...How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! 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..."--Is. 14:12-13; KJV. Their misunderstanding here comes from the phrase: "I will ascend into heaven."
Consider, from Dake's Annotated Reference Bible, "This is one of the things Lucifer said in his heart when planning to overthrow God in heaven. According to Col. 1:15-18, thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers, visible and invisible, were created in heaven and in earth, which shows the establishment of kingdoms in many places in the heavens, on other planets, besides the earth. Lucifer was given dominion of the earth and worked deceitfully to get other angelic rulers to follow him in his war against God...The place of mobilization was the earth. How long they rebelled before the actual break with God is not known...Lucifer's plan was to invade heaven, dethrone God, and become the supreme ruler of all creations, but it shows that he already was a ruler. If he had a throne he had a kingdom and he himself was a ruler. if he had a throne he had a kingdom and he himself was a king..."; Notes on Isaiah--7 proofs Lucifer ruled men, by Finnis J. Dake. Why leap to the conclusion that since other thrones or sanctuaries existed below, that they were somehow okay for Lucifer to lay claim to after leaving Heaven. If God decided to make some throne or edifice anywhere in the physical universe below, then said thrones would be His, and not Lucifer's to claim. We disagree with Dake's comments here, and believe our continuing efforts below will clearly establish a better understanding.
Surely, it's easy to see how some would consider "ascend into heaven" to be describing Lucifer as entering Heaven from some other place. Nevertheless, close inspection of the text reveals that the word into is not actually a part of the Hebrew text at all--see Strong's Exhaustive Concordance. Numerous translations besides the KJV use a modified wording here. Notice, "I will scale the heavens" (New American Bible); "I will scale the heavens" (New English Bible); "I will scale the heavens" (New Jerusalem Bible); "I will climb the sky" (The Jewish Bible-Tanakh); "I will scale the heavens" (New Berkley Version); "I will scale the sky" (James Moffat); "I will scale the heavens" (Latin Vulgate); "The heavens will I scale" (Goodspeed's Complete Bible). None of these examples imply an exclusive sense of meaning into as anyone can clearly observe. The sense is merely one of climbing.
Consider that "fallen from heaven" and "chopped to the ground" (Is. 14:12) cannot possibly be describing a situation where God was directing Lucifer and others on Earth. It says what it says, and none of it sounds friendly. Lucifer's claims were exclusive to a rising above all authority in a Heavenly setting with a subsequent fall from that perch; and not a rising from Earth. Notice, "...How are you fallen from heaven, shining gleam, son of the morning! Chopped to the ground, conquerer of nations! You reflected in your heart, I will scale the heavens; I will elevate my throne above the stars of God. I will sit on the Mount of the Assembly, far away in the north. I will rise above the heights of the clouds; I will rival the Most High!"--Is. 14:12-13; NBV.
From The Companion Bible, E.W. Bullinger states, "mount of the congregation=Not Zion, but the Divine assembly of judgement. Cp. Ps. 75:2; 82:1; Ezek. 28:12-14." And, Dake's Reference Bible, agrees, saying, "The mount of the congregation of heaven gathers for regular worship." Bullinger further states, "sides=recesses. Same word as in v. 15, 37:24; and 1Sam. 24:3; Ezek. 32:23...the north=This helps to localize the dwelling place of God."
The whole of the passage is exclusively set in Heaven. Consider: 1) a rising to some higher area in Heaven; 2) erection and exaltation of another seat atop God's throne; 3) above the stars=above the angels; 4) Jesus and the Father surround themselves with clouds in Heaven (Ps. 104:3; Is. 19:1; Da. 7:13), meaning the entirety of Isaiah's statement appears to speak exclusively of a Heavenly context.
If guarding God's throne in Heaven is the only place where we can be certain that Scripture assigns to Lucifer a specific home (Ezek. 28:14), then it is extremely difficult for us to determine anything otherwise from Is. 14:12-14. Thus, if the idea of "entering Heaven from somewhere else" is incorrect, can it be that the only reasonable conclusion one can draw from Isaiah's statement is that Lucifer, being left in charge of guarding God's throne in Heaven, at some point decided to climb to an even more exalted status and/or area of Heaven? Thankfully God doesn't leave us hanging here. As we shall see, Scripture does provide a very striking parallel in support of our position that Lucifer's fall could have come about only through some action of ascending higher in Heaven above God's throne.
If one carefully considers the story of a man named Absalom, a good picture begins to emerge explaining much concerning Lucifer's climb in Heaven. Absalom is believed to be the third born son of king David, and evidently unhappy with having to wait for his chance to rule from his father's throne. He lusted for power and authority so desperately that he was willing to do anything to seize control. (The story of his life can be found in 2Samuel 13-18.)
The most astounding similarity or compariosn between Absalom and Lucifer pertained to each one's outward beauty. Notice, "...But in all Israel there was none to be so much praised as Absalom for his beauty: from the sole of his foot even to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him..."--2Sam. 14:25;KJV--for Lucifer, see Ezek. 28:12. It is a striking parallel!
Previously, we mentioned how God had departed from Heaven allowing the opportunity for Lucifer to prove a path of conduct. In a similar sense Absalom was allowed to take forbidden liberties against king and country through a rebellious, ego-driven personality while his father seemed to be out of view somewhere. Notice, "...Absalom provided himself a chariot and horses and an escort of fifty men. He made it a practice to...hail every man who had a case to bring before the king for judgement...Absalom would say...you will get no hearing from the king...If only I were appointed judge in the land...it would be my business to see that everyone...got justice from me..."--2Sam. 15:1-6; NEB (New English Bible). King David must have been aware of Absalom's activity and allowed it to go on, yet we're never given any clear statement regarding his thoughts in the matter. Both God and David appear to be far removed from the scene in each respective account.
Absalom's equipping himself with the exceptional transport of horse and chariot along with a personal guard of fifty signified the beginnings of his rebellious intentions of claiming the king's throne as his own, and taking liberties which were not his to possess. His self-appointed status as a powerful ruler would have impressed many onlookers who subsequently considered Absalom to be the logical successor to his father's throne. Absalom desperately wanted a following of his own and took matters into his own hands.
Absalom's equipping himself with the exceptional transport of horse and chariot along with a personal guard of fifty signified the beginnings of his rebellious intentions of claiming the king's throne as his own, and taking liberties which were not his to possess. His self-appointed status as a powerful ruler would have impressed many onlookers who subsequently considered Absalom to be the logical successor to his father's throne. Absalom desperately wanted a following of his own and took matters into his own hands.
The Interpreter's Bible Commentary suggests that Absalom was following a superstitious custom still evident in many modern Jewish weddings, where vows are made under a canopy, called a huppah. It states: "The tent which was pitched for him on the roof of the palace was the wedding tent common to all Semitic people." What it fails to mention is that no custom has ever been known in the Biblical world where people erected such tents atop buildings. Our research found no custom in history where a wedding canopy is ever erected atop a home, or any other building for that matter. Absalom's ascent followed no known practice. The commentaries are unable to explain why he chose this very unorthodox act of erecting a tent above his father's throne. For appearance purposes alone, Absalom could just as easily have resided under his father's abandoned roof in claiming the king's throne. Yet he chose to construct an addition atop his father's palace instead. Routine behavior? Hardly. Especially in light of the fact that Absalom appeared ignorant of what to do upon arrival to Jerusalem (2Sam. 16:20). Had erecting a wedding tent atop a building been the norm, then why did Absalom ask what should be done in this instance? The simple answer is, these people didn't easily realize what they were acting out.
After close inspection, the apparent similarities contained in the two accounts of Absalom and Lucifer are mind boggling. For ourselves, we find it nearly impossible to imagine these two stories being unrelated. Their most outstanding similarities are quite remarkable: 1) both entities were the most beautiful in appearance in all their realm; 2) both wrongfully lusted to reign as absolute ruler; 3) both undertook efforts to promote themselves as ultimate ruler; 4) both were allowed to claim temporary rulership; 5) both convinced others to follow in their rebellion; 6) both ascended above the king's throne, erecting some structure symbolizing their own rulership; 7) both were allowed to sit as ultimate ruler for some time; and 8) both were violently dethroned from their self-appointed positions. Other remarkable similarities exist, but in our immediate discussion these are the most profound.
The fact that we see a symbolic parallel linking Absalom's actions atop his father's palace/throne to that of Lucifer's ascending atop God's throne shouldn't be too difficult for even a novice Bible student to comprehend. Absalom's ascent perfectly illustrates what Lucifer did in the transformation from good to evil. The truth couldn't be any plainer.
The claim that Satan the Devil was allowed to sit on God's throne after transforming from good to evil finds its support in Scripture. Notice, "...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..."--Ezek. 28:2; KJV. According to Scripture, it appears that Satan, the Devil, was certainly allowed to sit on God's throne. Interestingly, in the The Hermenia Commentary, Walter Zimmerli has concluded that, "I am a god" from Ezek. 28:2, should be more properly translated, "I am God", adding: "Thus from the point of view of form, the king of Tyre usurps the manner of speech which is appropriate only to the creator." In other words, this passage can easily be translated to show that the transformed Satan was allowed to sit on God's throne while claiming divinity on a par with the Almighty. This wasn't just some personality wanting to merely be like God. It was the claim to actually be the Almighty in the eyes of the angelic host.
Many will be interested in learning the fate of the angels that departed Heaven under Satan's authority. Absalom's story reveals much for us concerning this part of the story. Scripture indicates that many of the angels who departed Heaven were decieved about what they were doing. The Devil must have convinced them into thinking that who they were seeing on a regular basis was the Almighty, yet in reality it was just the imposter masquerading like God. In all of the Devil's traffic of coming and going it seems wholly reasonable to conclude that the imposter merely reemerged, at some point after being away from the throne in Heaven (not unlike God's habits of coming and going?), and reappearing just like Almighty God had last been remembered in the minds of the angels.
Remarkably, by following in the pattern set by Lucifer already discussed above, Absalom climbed to the highest inhabited part of Palestine (at Hebron) in choosing a headquarters to begin the attempted overthrow of the kingdom. Consider, "...Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, As soon as ye hear the sound of the trumpet, then ye shall say, Absalom reigneth in Hebron..."--2Sam. 15:10; KJV.
The introductory part of the book of Job speaks of a challenging discussion between God and Satan concerning the faith and character of the man whom the book is named. God brings Job into the picture first, with the Devil claiming that this righteous man of God would not remain so if God's protection were removed. As a test God allows Satan to strip Job of his wealth, property, children, and good health in proving the righteous character of this truly faithful man of God. (By the end of the book we see Job being fully restored to a greater wealth than ever before.)
It would make sense, then, for Job to have at least mentioned those same forces of evil throughout the rest of the book. Numerous places in the book of Job do speak directly of Satan besides the introduction. One example can be seen where metaphor is utilized in describing Satan by way of a sea monster. Notice, "...God sends earthquakes and shakes the ground; he rocks the pillars that support the earth. He can keep the sun from rising, and the stars from shining at night. No one helped God spread out the heavens or trample the sea monster's back. God hung the stars in the sky - the Dipper, Orion, the Pleiades, and the stars of the south..."--Job 9:6-9; GNT (Good News Translation). The New English Bible reads, "...trod on the sea monster's back..."
Most translations fail to directly mention the sea monster, yet many add a marginal notation as a possible alternative text. Numerous scholars and commentators make note of this fact as well. Many versions translate something similar to, "...treaded upon the waves of the sea," instead of any direct mention of a sea monster. The Amplified Bible, says, "...treads upon the waves and high places of the sea..." Likewise, the New Berkley Version, says, "...and stalks abroad over the heights of the sea..." The James Moffatt Translation, offers, "...and stalks along their heights..." Numerous scholars understand the language suggests a very lofty aspect; i.e. apparently more than merely atop high waves on Earth. In other words, the entire passage of Job 9:6-9 likely pertains exclusively to astral elements.
Had many of the translators seen the better insight where Job 9:8 speaks concerning a high sitting astral sea creature, which in reality was Satan the Devil, then many translations would have reflected a better wording. An alternative version of merit might easily be, "Nobody helped God spread out the vast heavens, or trample the astral-sea monster's back." Simply put, The Nelson Study Bible, says, "The fact that the Lord treads on the waves of the sea shows His unique control over the alleged forces of evil."
Another place in the book of Job speaks of the same subject. In chapter 38, God's word says, "...Where were you when I founded the earth? Tell me, if you have the insight. Who determined its measurements? You surely know! Or who stretched the builder's line upon it? Upon what were its foundations sunk, or who laid its conerstone, while the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? Who fixed the boundaries of the sea, when it burst forth from the womb? When made I the clouds its clothes, and thick darkness its swaddling bands, prescribing for its bars and doors, and saying, Thus far you may come but no farther; here shall your proud waves be stayed? Have you ever in your life commanded the morning or shown the dawn its place, so that it may get hold of the corners of the earth and shake the wicked out of them..?"--Job 38:4-13; NBV. Concerning the word, wicked at Job 38:13, Bullinger states, "All the ancient versions and early printed editions read the lawless." This language concerning proud waves along with wicked and the lawless cannot possibly pertain to purely physical elements of water. This passage rather portrays a scene that clearly shows no human exisiting when God created the Earth, yet it's certainly apparent the angels were already present since they are seen singing and shouting for joy. It's also true that out of those angels, evil reared its ugly head(s).
The angels who had departed Heaven under Satan's command were not limitless upon arrival to the physical world below. Being created on a spiritual plane does not mean one can easily come to a physical world and override all of the pre-exisiting laws of physics which God had originally set in place. Spirit beings entering directly into our dimensional physicality are bound by the same physical laws as mortal man is today; unless they are on some special mission of God where the Holy Spirit enables them to act in a more hyper-supernatual way. Just because angels are supernatural to man doesn't mean they have some fantastic ability to override all of God's physical laws below. Promoting otherwise is extremely liberal. Spirit beings can certainly bend, warp and pervert God's laws much more effectively than man, but they still must remain within the limits of the laws that Almighty God has set in place. Let's also not overlook how Scripture often speaks figuratively of angels as men (Gen. 18 & 19; Ezek. 9; and etc.) strongly indicating they are very limited in power.
Long before the first real man of God in Adam was created, our Creator had already battled and defeated spiritual wickedness in the physical world below. Evil had not only been allowed to become a reality in Heaven while the Master was away, but it then also worked below in the physical world as well. It was a work desiring to be equal with Almighty God. The language of Job 38 cannot be solely directed at mere saltwater on our planet. The context is bound by the singing stars who shout for joy, and God speaking to proud waves (Jude 13). These proud waves represent the fallen angels and the setting of limits upon them. It speaks of their being shaken from the great ocean in the sky at some point in time after their departure from Heaven under Satan. Many examples can be found throughout the Bible in agreement with this figurative language of the seas referring to the heavens above.
Devil in Ahaz
An examination of the actions of a particular king in Israel's ancient past will help us to better discern another pattern of events the Devil accomplished within our solar system, and maybe beyond, long before Adam was created. The king's name was Ahaz and he reigned as a king of Judah during a time when the children of Israel were no longer united as a single nation. (The story of his life can be found at 2Kings 16 & 2Chronicles 28.)
Soon after king Solomon died, a civil war broke out which caused Israel to be divided into two separate nations. Scripture reveals how this national calamity caused the twelve tribes of Israel to split into two groups of tribes, with one in the northern territory and another to the south. The northern tribes were generally known as the house of Israel, while the southern tribes were referred to as the house of Judah. A thorough reading of the events in this particular time frame of Israel's history reveals much hatred between these two competing factions.
A situation arose where the northern tribes in the house of Israel conspired with some of their pagan neighbors in a plan to utterly destroy the house of Judah to the south. It was on this occasion that the prophet Isaiah delivered a message to Judah's king Ahaz with the promise of success and survival if he would merely remain faithful and obedient to God's instructions as to how to deal with the struggle. Instead of remaining strong enough in the Lord, Ahaz chose to seek military assistance from the idolatrous nation of Assyria to the east. His payment to the Assyrian king was made by robbing the king's palace and Temple grounds in Jerusalem.
Ahaz also made numerous changes in the way Judah was to officially worship God in the Temple area. He erected his own altar while sacrificing animals in the name of pagan gods there, calling it the true worship of the God of Israel. He rearranged many other things in the Temple area, and our focus on one particular item from that rearrangement yields information of value toward an understanding of what happened in our world when Satan and the angels departed Heaven.
The item in question is called the brazen Sea, and it's what Ahaz did with it that tells us so much. The brazen Sea was a very large circular container of water, for use in a purification ritual performed by the priests (2Chron. 4). They would ritually bathe themselves in it before performing priestly duties. It sat atop the backs of twelve oxen (1Ki. 7:25), which pointed to the four cardinal points of the sky.
Many Bible scholars consider the Sea to have represented the astral heavens. The New Biblical Commentary, says, "Hiram's most impressive technological acheivement was perhaps the huge bronze basin...known as 'the Sea'. It was supported on twelve bronze bulls arranged in four groups of three, each group facing one of the cardinal points...its size and design, as well as its name suggest it was symbolic..." It's difficult to find a Bible scholar who overlooks the obvious astral-sea connection in this instance.
The base of the twelve oxen upon which the Sea rested also signified the celestial heavens in its own way. It clearly represented the four cardinal points of North, South, East, and West. Notice, "...It stood upon twelve oxen, three looking toward the north, and three looking toward the west, and three looking toward the south, and three looking toward the east; and the sea was set above upon them, and all their hinder parts were inward..."--1Ki. 7:25; KJV. This description, if we consider the entire edifice as a representation of the physical world at its beginning, strongly indicates that God's original creation was set in a perfect, harmonious order from the very beginning.
This base of twelve oxen did not solely indicate the four cardinal points. Solomon could just as easily have had Hiram build the entire structure with only four oxen which were each pointed to a particular cardinal point in the heavens. Why twelve? Some have tried to connect the twelve tribes of Israel to the twelve oxen, yet this is a false application as the building characteristics of the brazen Sea stress a connection between the number twelve and the astral-sea; not the tribes of Israel. Notice, "...twelve is the perfect number, signifying 'perfection of government'...It is found as a multiple in all that has to do with 'rule'. The sun which 'rules' the day, and the moon and stars which 'govern' the night, do so through...the great circle of the heavens of 360 (12 x 30) degrees or divsions, and thus govern the year."--E. W. Bullinger, Number in Scripture. The number twelve, where the Sea is involved, indicates a special significance in the perfect arrangement of the original physical world as fashioned by Almighty God.
Now, what did the devil in Ahaz do with this symbol of the physical universe? Notice, "...King Ahaz dismantled the wheeled stands, removed the crosspieces and the basins from them, and took the bronze Sea off the oxen supporting it, and rested it on the stone pavement..."--2Ki. 16:17a; JBV (Jerusalem Bible Version). Ahaz took the Sea down from its placement, having represented a perfect alignment with the heavenly compass points, and placed it downward on a base of disarray with no regard to God's harmonious order.
Accordingly, when we factor in all of the relevant aspects, this likely means that Satan the Devil did some rearranging and desecrating of planet Earth, of our solar system, and likely beyond. The heavens of old were originally set in a perfect harmonious order by the direct hand of Almighty God. Satan twisted that original order through sin and law-breaking, and fallout from that disorder continues to the present day.
A thorough reading of king Ahaz's fall after being appointed temporary guardian over the throne of Judah, is revealing. He went against God's word in seeking fame, fortune and power above what was rightly his to possess. These acts certainly followed in the same tracks laid by the Devil long before. Ahaz defiled a symbol of God's original celestial order, mirroring a rearranging of the real heavens when Satan claimed status equal to that of God.
Circus in the Sky
It has already been established that a very awesome angel named Lucifer was given some special authority and rank in Heaven by Almighty God (Ezek. 28:14). It's also evident that during the transformation from anointed cherub into Satan the Devil, that this super-angel claimed a status equal to that of Almighty God (Ezek. 28:2). Besides these, our research has also uncovered many significant details related to a massive empire existing in the physical world long before Adam was created. Satan the Devil was the mastermind behind the build-up of this huge 'black market in the sky' and an abundance of evidence supporting this position can be found throughout Scripture, archaeology, history and mythos if the student desires to study into it further.
Isaiah knew about Satan's desire to be seen as Almighty God. Notice, "...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 upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds: I will be like the Most High..."--Is. 14:13-14; KJV. This passage clearly and plainly says that Satan went about imitating Almighty God in the eyes of many onlookers. If one of God's most outstanding characteristics is that He creates, then it makes logical sense to conclude that the Devil would certainly try to create something on its own while masquerading as the Most High.
When we reflect on Job 38:7 it isn't difficult to see that Lucifer and the angels must have known of some highly important significance to Earth's formation and position in the Universe. Singing and shouting for joy, then, must mean the angels knew that God's plan of Salvation would be accomplished there.
Since pre-fallen Lucifer knew of God's ultimate plan for mankind to be placed on an earthly plane below, then it makes perfect sense that the Devil would try to create its own version of man there. Anything short of this would prove the Devil was really just an imposter, and not almighty, in the eyes of the angels. Not surprisingly, current fossil records reveal a lengthy list of man-like creatures having existed over a vast range of years (prior to Adam's existence), which are undoubtedly non-human. These ape/man-like creatures have often been used as evidence to support the theory of evolution. Of course, according to Scripture these evolutionists are in error because Satan never made a real man, and God did create mankind beginning with Adam. The best Satan came up with were mutated beasts. Creation scientists have also struggled with the existence of these ape/man-like bones, yet no controversy need exist when all of the Scriptures are rightly divided. If the Scriptural account is correct, then we should expect to see numerous of these ape/man-like beings in the fossil records.
Satan was forced to create something upon claiming a status equal to the Almighty Creator. Deep down inside, the Devil likely knew it couldn't actually create the type of man that Almighty God had intended all along. Radical genetic experimentation must have quickly ensued upon Satan claiming an almighty status. Logically, the only gene pool available was on planet Earth since God had originally made our planet to be habitable for man from the beginning (Is. 45:18). There must have been many animals on Earth for the Devil to have experimented with while trying to make its version of a man-kind.
While Satan's inner circle feverishly worked to make its version of 'Frankenstein', the need for many resources and supplies proved great. Trafficking the essential resources to the laboratory became a major chore. Evidently, spirit beings are bound by God's laws of physics whenever they are in the same physical world that man thrives within. If this is correct, then many resources from places near and far from Earth would have been transported to where their work was done.
Before Satan could successfully make his ape/man-like beast through manipulation of the genetic material gathered from other animals of the field, the work of developing a massive far-flung empire of trade and commerce was set about. Notice, "...Thou wast perfect in thy ways...till iniquity was found in thee..." (Ezek. 28:15); "...By the multitude of thy merchandise..." (Ezek. 28:16); "...by the iniquity of thy traffic..." (Ezek. 28:18). The words merchandise and traffic are the same in the Hebrew (Strong's #7404) having a sense meaning travel and trade combined. It's not hard to see an empire being built up with Satan the Devil sitting astride a throne in Heaven, and at some other seat(s) of authority below as well.
Many assert that only those nine verses at Ezek. 28:11-19 speak of a fallen cherub named Lucifer when the whole prophecy actually spans three lengthy chapters. The rest they say, is targeted solely at some purely human king named Tyrus. Suprisingly, only a minority of scholars correctly sees Satan as the subject being specifically addressed throughout the entirety of Ezekiel's lengthy prophecy (Ezek. 26-28). Shouldn't we always study any given area of Scripture in its proper context? The entirety of those three chapters just happen to be the context. If Ezekiel's prophecy concerning Tyre/Satan is 83 verses in length, then why would we exclude ourselves from considering all of them as we study? Who is the authority that some 74 verses should be so easily disregarded?
Upon close inspection, the remainder of Ezekiel's prophecy on Tyre provides valuable information regarding the build-up of Satan's pre-Adamic empire. Consider, "...Thy rowers have brought thee unto great waters...thy riches, and thy fairs, thy merchandise, thy mariners, and thy pilots..." Ezek. 27:26-27a. Along with, "...O thou art situate at the entry to the sea [astral], which art a merchant of the people [angels] of many isles...O Tyrus, thou hast said, 'I am of perfect beauty.' Thy borders are in the midts of the seas, thy builders have perfected thy beauty..." Ezek. 27:3-4; KJV. And, "...With thy wisdom and with thine understanding thou hast gotten thee riches, and hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures: By thy great wisdom and by thy riches..." Ezek. 28:4-5; KJV. Satan built an economic empire through false wisdom that involved some type of traffic in the physical world below. The text mentions rowers, mariners and pilots shipping items around in our physical world, as part of a market-driven work. This work of perfecting the beauty of Satan's physical headquarters below was likely an attempt at replicating what God's throne area above looked like. Apparently, the Devil tried to duplicate its physical headquarters below to mirror the image of its refashioned and perverted headquarters in Heaven above.
Nearly the entirety of the lengthy passage at Ezek. 27:1-25 discusses in great detail the movement and marketing of many items. Apparently, this vast merchandising empire stretched across our solar system and likely beyond. The reader is advised to read and study the entire passage for themselves. For now, consider, "...son of man, take up a lamentation over Tyre and say to Tyre, who dwells at the entrance of the sea, merchant of the people to many coastlands, Thus says the Lord God, "O Tyre, you have said, 'I am perfect in beauty.' Your borders are in the heart of the seas; Your builders have perfected your beauty. They have made all your planks of fir trees from Senir; They have taken a cedar from Lebanon to make a mast for you. Of oaks from Bashan they have made your oars; With ivory they have inlaid your deck of boxwood from the coastlands of Cyprus. Your sail was of fine embroidered linen from Egypt so that it became your distinguishing mark; Your awning was blue and purple from the coastlands of Elishah. The inhabitants of Sidon and Arvad were your rowers; Your wise men were with you repairing your seams; All the ships of the sea and their sailors were with you in order to deal in your merchandise..." Ezek. 27:2-9); NAS (New American Standard Version). These verses are a sampling of what the larger passage shows to have been a massive undertaking at building a physical empire below. Many places in the physical world, including Earth, were negatively affected.
Satan made a beautific garden as his headquarters somewhere below in the physical world. Earth would not be the logical home of this headquarters since Earth represented all that the Devil hated. This planet was to be the field in which God enlarges His family by creating man and offering him Salvation through Jesus Christ! If this is correct, and Satan hated Earth because of what it ultimately represented, then our planet would have suffered negatively as a result. Earth was likely raped of its many natural resources with transference of those products to the great 'black market in the sky.' Satan could have easily said to the subordinate angels that some partial transference of Earth's resources was okay in light of them being used to seed other planets in our solar system. The Devil could argue that the entire solar system as it was then, had been planned from the beginning to be used in the work of Salvation with planet Earth the germinating seed-planet. With that line of reasoning, Earth could be partially destroyed.
Where was Satan's headquarters in the physical world exactly situated in our soalr system long ago? Ezekiel seems to say that wherever that old headquarters was located, it was ultimately cursed by God into becoming a dry and barren land after having once thrived amidst many great waters. Notice, "...Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, O Tyrus, and will cause many nations to come up against thee, as the sea causeth his waves to come up. And they shall destroy the walls of Tyrus, and break down her towers..." Ezek. 26:3-4a; KJV. Clearly, God is seen here bringing His armies against Tyre's old system. One can hardly deny the evidence our solar system exhibits of a massive battle at some point in the vast reaches of history's antiquity.
Part of the curse uttered against Tyre/Satan shows how God said He would, "...scrape her dust from her, and make her like the top of a rock. It shall be a place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea..." Ezek.26:4b-5a; KJV. The proper place to spread one's fishing nets when attempting to catch a fish is in water. This is not what Ezekiel was alluding to in this passage. To the contrary, he describes a spreading of fishing nets for the purpose of drying and preserving the nets themselves. After one uses the fishing nets they must be laid out to properly dry. If they were not handled accordingly, the nets would become moldy and weak. Satan's once flourishing garden having become barren like the top of a dry rock would be an ideal place for drying one's nets. This is the idea that Ezekiel wanted to promote. Question: Is there any place in our solar system that happens to be famous for once having vast seas on its surface, but is now barren like the top of a rock? A place where mythos claims a utopian world once existed with men living there? Certainly. That place is Mars!
God brought His armies against Satan's empire. The angels below were astonished at being attacked and defeated by God. Not merely because they had been beaten down, but more so because they had thought all along that their activities in the physical world below had been ordained of God. The problem was, who they thought was God, turned out to be Satan the Devil. Consider, "...Thus saith the Lord God to Tyrus; shall not the isles shake at the sound of thy fall, when the wounded cry, when the slaughter is made in the midst of thee? Then all the princes of the sea shall come down from their thrones, and layaway their robes...they shall clothe themselves with trembling; they shall sit upon the ground, and tremble at every moment, and be astonished at thee. And they shall take up a lamentation for thee, and say to thee, How art thou destroyed, that wast inhabited of seafaring men, the renowned city, which was strong in the sea, she and her inhabitants, which cause their terror to be on all that haunt it!" Ezek. 26:15-17; KJV. The angels were astonished as they now saw Satan in another form being far different from that which they had been accustomed to seeing. The Devil must have been masquerading as Almighty God and the ignorant angels had been deceived; including the many angels in Heaven (Rev. 12:9).
Most of the subordinate angels had apparently been ignorant of Satan's real work all along and totally surprised at what was transpiring in their world. Notice, "...Thy rowers have brought thee into great waters; the east wind hath broken thee in the midst of the seas...all thy company...shall fall into the midst of the seas in the day of thy ruin. The suburbs shall shake at the sound of the cry of thy pilots. And all that handle the oar, the mariners, and all thy pilots of the sea, shall come down from their ships, they shall stand upon the land. And shall cause their voice to be heard against thee, and shall cry bitterly...all the inhabitants shall be astonished at thee...the people shall hiss at thee..." (Ezek. 27:26-36) KJV. And, "They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms..." Isa. 14:16; KJV. The subordinate angels were surprised at Satan's appearance, meaning the Devil must have been performing some masquerading act all along.
Satan the Devil, along with the subordinate angels were all placed in prison (Ezek. 26:20). God's word even tells us how long this prison sentence lasted if we take the numbers literally. Notice, "...Tyre shall be forgotten seventy years...after the end of seventy years shall Tyre sing as an harlot. Take a harp, go about the city, thou harlot that has been forgotten; make sweet melody, sing many songs, that you mayest be remembered. And it shall come to pass after the end of seventy years, that the Lord will visit Tyre, and she shall commit fornication with all the kingdoms of the world, upon the face of the Earth..."--Isa. 23:15-17; KJV. This reveals for us that God let Satan out of prison after 70 years. Many students will be surprised to learn that Satan's impending imprisonment during the Millenium will not be the first time that this anointed-cherub-gone-bad has been locked up.
God sentenced Satan and his subordinate angels to prison after they had worked long and hard at building up a vast empire in the physical world below. A battle in our solar system ensued with Satan's headquarters being reduced from a once thriving sea of beauty into a world resembling the top of a rock. Earth was totally flooded by a deluge that made Noah's flood appear to be like a mere trickle in comparison. The condition of Earth at Gen. 1:2 as it sat without form and void was the result of God's defeat of evil. These flooding waters which covered Earth's high mountains for 70 dark years came from the destruction of Satan's paradise in the heavens which had been made like the top of a rock.
The empire was nearly totally destroyed from its place in the vast sea in the sky. A subsequent flood on Earth can be seen as a direct result of Satan's old headquarters below being destroyed. Many characteristics stand out when contrasting Satan's flood with that of Noah's. Notice, "...I beheld the earth, and lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light..."--Jer. 4:23; KJV. Numerous scholars see far more destructiveness in Satan's flood when compared to that of Noah's occuring nearly 1,725 years later. Noah's flood, for example, lasted a little over a year while the result of Satan's sin lasted 70 totally dark years.
Dake says, "The flood of Noah lasted over a year, yet vegetation was not destroyed. But, in Lucifer's flood the fruitful place became a wilderness (Jer. 4:23-26). New vegetation had to be planted in 6 days, for the earth was totally desolate (Gen. 1:11-12; 2:5, 8-17). This proves that Lucifer's flood was on earth longer than Noah's and without doubt, as judgment for a more serious rebellion...Ps 104:5-9 speaks of God sending a flood on earth after its creation, at which time the waters stood above the mountains. Verse 7 indentifies this as Lucifer's flood, saying "...At thy rebuke they fled..." In the case of Noah's flood, the waters slowly abated." An abundance of interesting commentary on this subject already exists detailing a massive flood on Earth long before God made mankind.
The prophet Ezekiel, like many other Bible writers, also knew of Satan's flood that destroyed the old world before Adam. Back again to his lengthy prophecy on Tyre, he says, "...Now shall the isles tremble in the day of thy fall; yea the isles that are in the sea shall be troubled at their departure. For thus saith the Lord God: When I shall make thee a desolate city, like the cities that are not inhabited; When I shall bring the deep upon thee, and great waters shall cover thee. When I shall bring thee down with them that descend into the pit, with the people of old time, and shall set thee in the low parts of the earth, in places desolate of old, with them that go down to the pit..."--Ezek. 26:18-20a: KJV. The Scriptural evidence in support of a global flood before Adam is overwhelming.
Before continuing to the next subsection, we must first mention a very interesting set of visions recorded in Ezekiel 8 pertaining to an unearthly temple area. Historically, Bible commentators have great difficulty explaining what is happening in this passage. If the researcher has the idea going in that another temple on a different planet besides Earth could be the topic of discussion, then a very viable alternative emerges that easily explains what Ezekiel was seeing.
In Ezek. 8:3 the prophet is taken (in vision) to a place high above Earth; apparently in outer space! Then following in the example evidenced in previous occasions (Ezek. 1:28; 3:22-23) the prophet would have fallen on his face when 'the glory of the Lord' suddenly appeared (Ezek. 8:4). Continuing, "...Then said he unto me, Son of man, lift up thine eyes now the way toward the North. So I lifted up mine eyes the way toward the north, and behold northward at the gate of the altar this image of jealousy..."--Ezek. 8:5; KJV. This way toward 'the north' is higher in the sky from where Ezekiel has already been taken (Deut. 4:19). Upon rising from having fallen on his face, he is now told to look higher in the sky. He sees the view of a temple area similar to what the Temple in Jerusalem had looked like previously. What follows thru v. 12 reveals a temple complex area at some other place high in the sky above Earth that was made to resemble Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem. This site was likely a view back in time to some perverted temple area in Satan's old empire on a planet in the same sky that everyone was gazing at that night.
After consulting numerous sources the closest we could come to a calendar date for this event was September 17/18th, 592 B.C. for when Ezekiel would have seen this vision of a temple in the sky. Ken Applegate, manager of the Seattle Astronomical Society's official website proved beneficial with our inquiry into what that particular night's sky would have looked like long ago. From his email dated February 14, 2001: "The other night I didn't have much time to do more than plug in your date and have the program (Skynet), search for Mars. It gave me a large-scale view of the sky that showed Mars and Jupiter near one another, and then Venus and Mercury in the same general quarter of the sky, (also in line along the "elliptical path," traveled by all the planets). If this is correct then any skywatchers of that time would have noticed...Very close conjunctions of planets, say less than a moon diameter apart (as is here), are pretty rare and definitely attract notice." Ken's advice helps us to see that many of Ezekiel's star worshipping neighbors would have been looking into the sky that same night. In Ezekiel's visions he sees an other worldly temple area that closely resembled the one on Earth. Bible commentators have never been able to give the historical account of this un-earthly temple, said to have "every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols" on its walls and round about. This other temple must have been a view back in time to one that existed in Satan's old world!
Interestingly, Scripture appears to connect the date of these events with the number 666! Consider, since the beginning of the passage at Ezekiel 8:1 says, "...And it came to pass in the sixth year, in the sixth month, in the fifth day of the month..." At the very same time that Ezekiel's neighbors began to celebrate the evening sky in their "astral-fertility-cult", God revealed to the prophet the original source of that pagan ritual. His visions would have run late into the evening past sunset causing the 6th day to begin as God normally counts days from sunset to sunset; and not like we do today with man-made clocks. If our understanding is correct, it was during the earliest parts of the 6th day, of the 6th month, in the 6th year of Israel's captivity in Babylon when they would have seen this celestial event in the sky. All the while their star-worshipping Babylonian captors were making a really big deal about the sky that night, Ezekiel was shown, by God, the vision of an old other-worldly temple in the sky. Apparently, a temple from long ago that represented evil, but somehow also pertinent to the end times before Christ returns since the number 666 is somehow connected (Rev. 13:18). Is there a remnant of this temple still extant on Mars today?
Spirits in Prison
Isaiah tells us how Satan's first stint in prison lasted 70 years (Is. 23:15). The Devil is then released, yet we aren't told in the same passage any further information about the subordinate angels in prison. What happened to them? We must consider another passage from Isaiah in seeking a better understanding of the details surrounding the fate of those angels. Notice, "...They [the angels] that see thee [Satan] shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?"--Is. 14:16-17; KJV. The margin says, "...that did not let his prisoners loose homewards?" This tells us that Satan apparently retains the keys to, and temporal authority over, that old pit of a prison it had been released from about 6,000 years ago. The Scriptural evidence suggests that it is currently Satan the Devil who decides which demons are allowed to roam about, and also which spirits are to remain in jail. It seems nearly certain that many of these angels had wanted to return to their original home in the Heavenly/spiritual realm.
Could this help to explain the reason why Jesus went and preached to the spirits in prison in the first place? Peter said, "...For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, by whom He went and preached to the spirits in prison, [who formerly were disobedient], when once the longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water..."--1Pet. 3:18-20; NKJV (New King James Version); brackets ours. This means that long before coming in the flesh, the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ (a.k.a. God, the Son--Is. 9:6-7; Col. 1:13-17; Heb. 1:7-8) is seen preaching to the spirits in prison during a time when Noah was building the ark. Peter is saying that it was through the same God and Holy Spirit that Jesus both preached to the spirits in prison and was also resurrected. He is not speaking about both events as being one and the same. Peter is not discussing Jesus preaching to the spirits in prison after being resurrected here. That is not the topic of Peter's discussion at all. To the contrary, Peter merely discusses how Jesus Christ, as God (long before being born through his mother Mary), preached to the spirits in prison at a time when Noah was building the ark.
Some teachings claim that since Jesus was preaching (Strong's #2784) at 1Pet. 3:19 instead of evangelizing (Strong's #2097), that He could not have been expounding the Gospel message to the spirits in prison, but rather must have been heralding His victory over death and the forces of evil. This interpretation is incorrect since many examples of preaching the Gospel message exists (Matt. 24:14; 26:13; Luke 24:47; 1Thes. 2:9; & etc.). Had these same commentators also realized the context of Peter's statements all along, then their conclusions would have made far more sense. Jesus Christ, in His pre-incarnate Divinity, didn't need to evangelize the spirits in prison at that time because they were already believers. The faithful aren't generally evangelized as much as they are preached to. We must remember Isaiah's time frame for the spirits in prison having originally been placed in their confinement; being some 70 years before Adam. It was during this time before man came into existence that the process of repentance began with the spirits in prison.
The fact that Scripture states the angels in prison wanted to go homeward (Is. 14:17) and are being prevented from doing do seems to indicate a repentant heart on their part. They certainly didn't remain loyal and faithful to their old, defeated leader the Devil. Not at that time, anyway. Notice, "...The suburbs [margin=waves] shall shake at the sound of the cry of the pilots, and shall come down from their ships...and shall cause their voice to be heard against thee, and shall cry bitterly, and shall cast up dust upon their heads, they shall wallow themselves in the ashes..." Ezek. 27:28-30; KJV. And, "...They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; That opened not the house of his prisoners..."--Is. 14:16-17; KJV. This language describes the reaction made by the angels immediately after being defeated by Almighty God and seeing Satan for what it really was. The implication portrays some of them starting down the road of repentance at that time.
Many students will be surprised to learn that the occasion of the pre-incarnate Jesus preaching to the spirits in prison during the time Noah was building the ark was not the first time that our Saviour had spoken with these reprentant souls. The fact that they wanted to go home must have meant they thought through some reasoning, they had a home waiting for them in heaven. This must be the truth, or Isaiah's words make no sense. This means that Jesus' real work of evangelism started with these spirits in prison sometime soon after their defeat; i.e. before Adam. Therefore, Peter's use of the term preaching instead of evangelism is right on. The pre-incarnate Jesus was very familiar with His audience, and they with Him.
Concerning the word, "spirits" -- 1) In The First Epistle of Peter (New International Commentary), P.H. Davids says, "Spirits in the N.T. always refers to non-human spiritual beings unless qualified (as, e.g., in Heb. 12:23; see Matt. 12:45; Mark 1:23, 26; 3:30; Lu. 10:20; Acts 19:15-16, 23:8-9; Eph. 2:2; Heb. 1:14; Rev. 16:13-14)...thus one would expect it here to mean angelic or demonic."; 2) In Spiritism and the Fallen Angels, Dr. James Gray, says, "...the word 'spirits' does not apply to men. It is never so applied in the Bible when it stands alone and without any qualifying words...by itself and without any qualifying description is used always of supernatural beings, higher than man and lower than God."; 3) In The First Epistle General of Peter, A.M. Stibbs, says, "...many have wished to interpret the phrase 'spirits in prison' as a reference to departed human spirits; but it fits in the linguistic usage of Scripture as a reference to fallen angels...The word 'pneumata' (spirits), alone and without qualification, is not thus used anywhere else in the Bible to describe human spirits." These commentaries help explain important information about the spirits in prison: they are non-human, and they are not demons either since the context of Peter's words qualifies what type of spirit beings are intended. Peter could have easily said demons instead of spirits, but he did not.
Properly recognizing the context of Peter's larger discussion on persecution will help us to better determine exactly what he was trying to convey to his listeners. As mentioned above, Peter writes to encourage his listeners to remain steadfast in their faith during some persecution. He uses the suffering spirits in prison as a positive example of angels in prison who must have been suffering persecution for righteousness sake in teaching a lesson to human believers as they faced some persecution of their own.
This scenario demands that two classes of fallen angels exist. Jude speaks of the very nasty variety saying, "...clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame, wandering stars to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever..."--Jude 12b-13; KJV. Jude's spirit beings are said to be wandering demons, moved about like the wind, and considered to be twice dead and deserving whatever the blackness of darkness for ever turns out to be. On the other hand, the spirits in prison that Peter mentions are said to be locked away in a prison, meaning they cannot be carried about of winds, or be wandering anywhere. Peter's spirits in prison also have a different fate awaiting them than whatever twice dead gets you. That fact can be easily seen if one merely walks through Peter's entire passage with an open mind to looking for the obvious as it appears in the words on the page.
Let's examine Peter's message piece by piece:
1Pet. 3:13-17; KJV--"...And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror*, neither be troubled; But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear. Having a good conscience that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing..." Peter offers encouragement to his listeners as they faced some persecution at the hands of enemies, saying it's best to always deal with an opponent through a spirit of meekness and fear instead of becoming fiercely angry in return. In nearly all cases, God would rather our conduct follow the model of Jesus Christ when He suffered persecution. || *This English word "terror" comes up repeatedly in Ezekiel's prophecy on Tyre, and other places speaking of the demons--Ezek. 26:21, 27:36; 28:19. There appears to be an obvious cohesiveness of thought regarding the terror(s) in Peter's and Ezekiel's passages.
1Pet. 3:18-19; KJV, "...For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison..." Peter is not saying that Jesus Christ suffered for human sinners only. It merely says the just for the unjust, meaning any sinner could be Peter's subject. The text never qualifies any particular variety for us: in Peter's case they are both human and angelic. || Jesus was made a living Spirit at His resurrection. After that resurrection Jesus the Christ soon afterwards returned back to being God (with God, the Father), like He had been previous to His human, fleshly experience. It was this God member who went and preached to the spirits in prison long before He came in the flesh. Peter is not saying Jesus' sermon was preached by a newly resurrected Christ about 2,000 years ago. The subject of His sermon must have been related to the sin of what was going on in Noah's world leading up to Genesis 6. The spirits in prison were being lured out through the sensual desires listed just several short verses later (1Pet. 4:3-4).
1Pet. 3:20a; KJV, "...Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a-preparing..." The phrase, "which sometime were disobedient" is a parenthetical thought. Peter is not saying the building of Noah's ark coincided with the time of the spirits in prison being placed into their confinement. His use of this phrase was not intended to define when the spirits in prison had originally sinned. Peter, as did his listeners, knew the angels' sin resulting in their confinement had been acted out long before Noah's time; being pre-Adamic. Many commentators have erred by thinking the sins responsible for placing the spirits in prison were committed during Noah's day. That is totally incorrect! Peter is saying, on the other hand, the correct timeline for pre-incarnate Jesus Christ's preaching to the spirits in prison occurred sometime during the 120-year period that Noah was building the ark. Their persecution, then, must have been heavily exacerbated during the days when Noah built the ark.
1Pet. 3:20b-21; KJV, "...wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ..." Were the angels in prison a small number? Maybe only being eight in number, exactly like the faithful in Noah's party on top of the water during the flood. Peter says the eight survivors of Noah's flood were figuratively saved by water representing a type of baptism. This is all made available through the grace and loving sacrifice of our God and Savior Jesus Christ. The context indicates Peter also sees a baptismal symbolism in the situation of the spirits in prison since they, too, were once covered by their own flood 70 years before Adam first breathed. || There is a likelihood the angels in prison still reside in some watery, [but dry?] chamber of sorts (hell=Strong's# 5020; 2Pet. 2:4), being situated underwater somewhere on planet Earth.
1Pet. 3:22; KJV, "...Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and principalities being made subject unto him..."--Jesus Christ is pictured as being returned back into Heaven and sitting next to God, the Father. Peter presents Jesus as having not only redeemed mankind, but angels as well. He continues with his watery motif showing similarity between the human flood survivors to that of the angels/spirits in prison. Apparently, the saving properties that Jesus offers to humans through Salvation are not exclusive to mankind, but also available to certain spirit beings. John 3:16 never said Salvation was made available to humans exclusively. || The angels' singing and shouting for joy at Job 38:7 was not merely done because they knew man's Salvation on Earth would be accomplished at a later time through Christ. To the contrary, the angels sang for joy mostly because of what Earth meant regarding their own chance at Salvation; mostly accomplished sometime after the return of Christ and the first resurrection.
1Pet. 4:1-2; KJV, "...For as much then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind; for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he should no longer live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but the will of God..."--Peter admonishes his listeners to remain steadfast in their faith. According to the context, then, the spirits in prison must have armed themselves with this same mind of Christ while suffering affliction in their jail; remaining faithful as they refused to align with Satan and his demonic following. By remaining in prison these angels demonstrated a commendable faith in choosing to live according to the will of God instead of Satan the Devil. This is the exact reason why Peter is bringing their example to the forefront in the minds of his listeners.
1Pet. 4:3-5; NASV, "...For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desires of the gentiles. Having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkeness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries. In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you; but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead..."--Peter reminds his listeners of their sinful pasts when they served the cares of the world more than the will of God. In a similar sense, the spirits in prison had previously served Satan. || This same excess is seen in the sins committed at Gen. 6, when the sons of God came into the daughters of men. || Peter's language suggests the persecution his human listeners suffered was due to them remaining faithful to God in their everyday lives. In like manner, this also portrays the spirits in prison to be suffering some form of persecution for righteousness sake since they are the persons Peter praises and exemplifies throughout. Psalm 89:5-7 refers to the spirits/angels surrounding God as saints, so it shouldn't be too far of a stretch to see Peter's spirits in prison in a similar light considering all of the pertinent Scriptures. || Apparently, Paul's statement concerning brethren judging angels (1Cor. 6:3) must pertain to those angels who are currently in Heaven, and not Peter's spirits in prison on Earth.
1Pet. 4:6; KJV, "...for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, and that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit..."--The dead are the once deceived, and now repentant spirits in prison as contrasted with Jude's nasty variety of twice dead demons (Jude 12-13). The demonic variety are referred to as being worthy of twice dead since they chose a life of sin all over again after getting themselves released from their prison by Satan. Peter says the good spirits in prison received hope and encouragement through the preaching that Jesus (as God) had provided during the days when Noah built the ark. Their hope was that they would receive eternal life through the same sacrifice that Jesus Christ made available to mankind. God loves all of His sons including the angels (Heb. 2:10-11).
The psalmist weighs in by saying, "...Jehovah from heaven unto earth looked attentively, to hear the groan of the prisoner, to loose sons of death..."--Ps. 102:19-20; YLT (Young's Literal Translation). The phrase "sons of death" is exclusive to here, and Ps. 79:11. It's extremely difficult to see this phrase representing mortal man and is a reference to the spirits in prison whom Peter also refers to as figuratively dead. Ezekiel said these angels were slain (Ezek. 26:6, 11, 15) even though they continued to survive in our physical world. God appears to be attentively interested in hearing the groans of the spirits in prison while helping them cope during their persecution. This language does not easily fit with humans on death row as some commentators have suggested in the past.
Additionally. we see in this passage where the other citation of sons of death occurs, from Ps. 70:10-11 some of the specific tactics the demons have used to lure the spirits in prison into coming out. Notice, "Why do the nations say, 'Where is their God?' Let be known among the nations before our eyes, The vengeance of blood of thy servants is shed. Let the groaning of the prisoner come in before Thee, According to the greatness of Thine arm, Leave thou the sons of death."--Ps. 79:10-11; YLT. The psalmist prays for the spirits in prison while petitioning God to use His strength in preserving and saving them. The demons [nations] harass the angels in prison by trying to plant the idea in their minds that God has somehow foresaken them. The very similar attitude and language has already been noted concerning the same demons from Ezek. 8:12 above. || This passage also suggests that God allows vast periods of time to elapse in between visits to the spirits in prison.
The wicked demons offer the spirits in prison liberty when in reality it's a yoke of bondage under Satan all over again. Notice, "...These are springs without water, and mists driven by a storm; for whom the blackness of darkness hath been reserved. For, uttering great swelling words of vanity, they entice in the lusts of the flesh, by lasciviousness, those who are just escaping from them that live in error; promising them liberty, while they themselves are bondservants of corruption; for whom a man is overcome, of the same is he also brought into bondage..."--2Pet. 2:17-19; ASV (American Standard Version). These "springs without water" are the twice dead demons that Jude addressed (Jude 12-13). Peter tells us these demons offer the spirits in prison a pseudo-liberty but the price of this freedom results in ultimate bondage to Satan. They might have gotten out of jail, but at what price? Since the spirits in prison know the Gospel message and are apparently in covenant with Christ, then them choosing to get out of jail by aligning with the Devil would be tantamount to a "...dog returning to his own vomit..." (2Pet. 2:22), and mark them as worthy of twice dead status.
Those familiar with the symbolism represented in the Feast of Weeks (a.k.a. Pentecost) at Leviticus 23:15-21 have generally concluded that the two leavened loaves waved before the Lord signify Jew and Gentile. This interpretation is extremely difficult to accept. If the greater whole of the Jews are not grafted back into the fold until after the return of Christ (Is. 59:20; Ro. 11:1-26), then the Jew-Gentile model proves untenable. Counting from the wave sheaf offering made during the Passover week until the end of seven weeks at Pentecost represents the completion of the firstfruits harvest, and the return of Jesus Christ. The two loaves being waved before the Lord at this ultimate Feast of Firstfruits in the future (Lev. 23:15-20) represent two separate groups of beings made into one offering at Messiah's return.
Jesus said, "...Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd..."--John 10:16; KJV (cf. Is. 56:1-8). It's hard for us to conclude that Jesus could have possibly meant that someone else besides the spirits in prison when He said "other sheep...not of this fold" In light of the many points made throughout this work, we hope the reader also recognizes these other sheep to be the spirits in prison spoken of by Peter. The language of another group fits well into the two-loaf symbolism already mentioned. We can easily see this other fold being the persons who the newly resurrected Jesus Christ spent His time with soon after waking up from His three days and three nights in the tomb. He would have logically spent that period of time with the angels of prison from around dusk (when He emerged from the tomb), until near dawn of the following morning when the first human saw Him.
Our claim that the spirits in prison will be freed someday finds its support in Scripture. Notice, "...Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold thy King cometh unto thee...by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water. Turn you to the stronghold, ye prisoners of hope..."--Zech. 9:9-11; KJV. These newly released prisoners of hope come up out of the pit and cannot possibly be evil since they are seen rejoicing as members of God's family. Every indication from Scripture reveals that a small number of spirits (angels) exist in a watery prison somewhere on Earth, who are also in covenant with Jesus Christ and awaiting His return.
Some will object to angels having any chance at receiving Salvation and subsequently ruling under Jesus Christ as members of God's family by citing Paul's words when he said, "...For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come..."--Heb. 2:5; KJV. Let's be careful as we consider exactly what the apostle's thoughts were here. This passage is not a discussion regarding whether or not angels can receive Salvation. To the contrary, the subject matter here pertains to the ultimate supremacy of our resurrected Savior as He sits next to the Father on High. Paul's words in Heb. 1:1-14 thru 2:5 were directed to answering people confused about the power and authority of angels when compared to that of the resurrected Jesus Christ. Paul's audience must have thought more highly of angels than was right, since the apostle instructs them on the Supremacy and Divinity of the Son of Man's authority. In other words, what Paul is saying is that no angel was chosen to be the Savior of mankind, or to be called the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. That is what Heb. 2:5 is saying. Paul is merely commenting on how God never intended to place the ultimate rulership of His kingdom under the power and authority of an angel, or angels. Rather, it is the resurrected Savior who sits next to God and He, Jesus Christ, is the One who will rightfully rule the Kingdom to come; not an angel!
Our work did not begin with an effort at unearthing ancient tracks. Nonetheless, we are here. Will we run from these concepts, or will we be intellectually honest and face up to them through further study, prayer and meditation? It is our hope the reader chooses the latter.
Many new things were learned in our study of Revelations 2 & 3 and we have much more to share with those who have a heart for considering the rest of the story. Newly found evidence uncovered in our study of the seven letters forced us to reevaluate many of our previously held ideas of angels and demons. What we found in that particular examination helped us to see the wisdom of first taking the reader back in time to more effectively begin to explain what may lie ahead.
Properly understanding the ancient tracks of Satan the Devil is vital to preparing the Church for the spiritual battle that is immediately before her. Tribulation is coming and a continued misunderstanding of the enemy can only cause some to falter in the day of battle. There is much to ponder as we watch and prepare for the return of Jesus Christ!
"As you saw the iron and clay mixed, so shall they be mixed in marriage, but they will not hold together, just as iron does not mix with clay. But in the days of those kings the God of heaven shall set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people, a kingdom which shall break in pieces and completely destroy all these kingdoms--it shall stand sovereign forever!" Daniel 2:43-44; New Berkley Version