Spirit Beings

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About Spirit Beings

In This Section:
   
More About Angels
   About HaSatan
   About Demons
   About Nefilim
   See also: The Angel of the Lord

The Scriptures teach that angels are created beings (Psalm 148:5), not deity, and are not to be worshipped (Exodus 34:14, Deut. 6:13, Luke 4:8); that they were created by HaShem to serve and worship Him (Psalm 148:5); that they are organized into different ranks and orders; and that there are now both holy and fallen angels.

Holy angels are “ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation“ (Heb. 1:14). They ministered extensively to Yeshua during His earthly life and ministry, and are involved in a general ministry to believers. Toward unbelievers, angels announce impending judgments, and will be actively involved in the judgments of the time of Ya'akov’s Trouble (the “Great Tribulation”).

We believe that HaSatan is also an angel, a cherub of the highest rank of all angelic creatures, that he sinned through the pride of self-will, and thereby became the author of sin and the cause of the fall of man. He is the open and declared enemy of both HaShem and man, and with his fallen angels (demons) is in a state of present and open warfare against HaShem and His saints. Some of the demons are presently being held captive “in chains” in Sheol. They will all be eternally punished in the Lake of Fire, which was created specifically for HaSatan and his demons.


Names for spirit beings

There are at least three classes of spirit beings described in Scripture: cherubim, seraphim, and angels. Other primary names for spirit beings include principalities and powers. Spirit beings are referred to in Scripture by many names, among which the following are included:

• powers / powers of heaven (Matt. 24:29; Mark 13:25; Luke 21:26; Rom. 8:38; Eph. 6:12; 1Pet. 3:22)

• principalities Rom. 8:38

• authorities 1Pet. 3:22

• spiritual forces of wickedness Eph. 6:12

• ministering spirits Heb. 1:14

• angels — The Hebrew and Greek words translated as “angels occur a total 389 times in Scripture (all word counts in this article are from the New American Standard Bible), but not always referring to spirit beings.

The Hebrew word $alm (mal'ak) means a messenger or representative, and appears 213 times. It is translated as angel (101 times), angels (9), messengers (76), messenger (24), ambassadors (2), and envoys (1).

The Greek word aggeloß (angelos) means a messenger, envoy, one who is sent, an angel, or a messenger from HaShem. It appears 176 times, and is translated as angel (86 times), angels (80), angel’s (2), angelic (1), messenger (4), and messengers (3).

• cherubim — The Hebrew word bwrk kherub (pl. kherubim) appears 20 times in the NASB as cherub (pl. cherubim), and is used to denote (a) the guardians of Eden; (b) beings who are flanking HaShem’s throne; (c) the forms hovering over the Ark of the Covenant; and (d) figuratively, as the chariot of HaShem (Psalm 18:10). [Please note that the Hebrew “ch” is pronounced as a very breathy “k” (like “kh”), not like “cherry.” The singular form of the word is kherub and the Hebrew plural form is kherubim. You sound really ignorant when you refer to “cherubims.”]

The prophet Yechezk'el (Ezekiel) provides us with a detailed description of the kherubim (Ezek.  10:4-14):

“The cherubim appeared to have the form of a man's hand under their wings. Then I looked, and behold, four wheels beside the cherubim, one wheel beside each cherub; and the appearance of the wheels was like the gleam of a Tarshish stone. As for their appearance, all four of them had the same likeness, as if one wheel were within another wheel. When they moved, they went in any of their four directions without turning as they went; but they followed in the direction which they faced, without turning as they went. Their whole body, their backs, their hands, their wings and the wheels were full of eyes all around, the wheels belonging to all four of them. The wheels were called in my hearing, the whirling wheels. And each one had four faces. The first face was the face of a cherub, the second face was the face of a man, the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle.”

• saraphim — The Hebrew word @rX saraph (pl. saraphim) appears only in the writings of the prophet Yesha'yahu (Isaiah), and is closely related to the word used to describe the “fiery serpent” that Moshe had made in the wilderness (Num. 21:6-8). He provides us with the following description (Isa. 6:1-5)

“In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called out to another and said, ‘Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.’ And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke.”

• demons — The Hebrew word dX shed appears only twice in the Tanakh, whereas the Greek word daimonion daimonion (evil spirits, or the messengers and ministers of HaSatan) appears in the Apostolic Writings 63 times, plus variations daimon daimon (demon 1); daimonizomai daimonizomai (demon-possessed 11, demoniacs 2); daimoniode? daimoniodes (demonic 1). All of the false gods of all of the religions of the world (Islam, Buddhism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Jainism, Shintoism, Taoism, and Zoroastrianism, to name but a few) are actually demons pretending to be gods.

• devils — As used in the King James Version, this is an incorrect translation of the Hebrew word dX shed or the Greek word daimonion daimonion. There is only one devil (Greek diaboloß, diabolos), HaSatan. A better translation for diaboloß would be “false accuser” or “slanderer.”
 


Names of Spirit Beings

In the Scriptures

Other than HaShem, there are only three spirit beings who are specifically named in the Scriptures: Mikha'el (Michael), Gavri'el (Gabriel), and (perhaps) Heylel (Lucifer) whose title (not name) is HaSatan (the accuser).

Mikha'el (“Who is Like God” — Michael) is an “Archangel,” the Sar Ri'shown (chief prince) of HaShem's heavenly army, the great prince who stands guard over the people of Israel. (See Dan. 10:13; 10:21; 12:1; Jude 1:9; Revelation 12:7)

Gavri'el (“Warrior of God” — Gabriel), is also an archangel, the angel HaShem uses to send messages of great importance to man. He was sent to Daniel, to Zacharias, and to Mariam, the mother of Yeshua. (See Daniel 8:16; 9:21; Luke 1:19,26) It is assumed by most that it was Gavrie'l who also appeared to Yosef in Matt 1:20 and 2:13-19, but the text does not say so.

Heylel (Light Bringer or Light Bearer) is also know as Shining One, Morning Star, and Lucifer (in KJV). He is also called Beelzebul (Lord of the House, Beelzebub in KJV) seven times in the Apostolic Writings (Matt. 10:25; 12:24; 12:27; Mark 3:22; Luke 11:15,18-19.). He is called Satan (adversary, one who withstands) 47 times in the NASB.
 

In Extra-Biblical Sources

From the Jewish Encyclopedia, entry “Angelology.”

Raphael (translation: God Heals), God's healing force

Uriel (translation: God is my light), leads us to destiny

Samael (translation: the severity of God), angel of death—see also Malach HaMavet (translation: the angel of death)

Sandalphon (translation: bringing together), battles Samael and brings mankind together

Jophiel (translation: Beauty of God), expelled Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden holding a flaming sword and punishes those who transgress against God

Sataniel/Satan (translation: the adversary), tempts humans, serves as an adversary, and brings people's sins before them in the heavenly court

Metatron (translation is disputed, may mean "keeper of the watch", "guardian", or "he who sits behind the throne of Heaven"), God's heavenly scribe recording the deeds of all that is done in Earth and Heaven and all of Creation.

Angelic Hierarchy in Jewish Theology

Maimonides, in his Yad ha-Chazakah: Yesodei ha-Torah (Mishneh Torah), counts ten ranks of angels in the Jewish angelic hierarchy, beginning from the highest:

Rank Angel Class Notes
1 Chayot Ha Kodesh See Ezekiel chs. 1 and 10
2 Ophanim See Ezekiel chs. 1 and 10
3 Erelim See Isaiah 33:7
4 Hashmallim See Ezekiel 1:4
5 Seraphim See Isaiah 6
6 Malakim Messengers, angels
7 Elohim "Godly beings"
8 Bene Elohim "Sons of Godly beings"
9 Cherubim See Talmud Hagigah 13b
10 Ishim "manlike beings", see Genesis 18:2, Daniel 10:5

Bibliography

C. Arnold, Powers of Darkness
W. Carr, Angels and Principalities (1981)
C. F. Dickason, Angels: Elect and Evil
_____, Demon Possession and the Christian
Billy Graham, Angels: God’s Secret Agents (1975)
J. W. Montgomery, ed: Demon Possession
H. Schier, Principalities and Powers in the New Testament (1961)
M. Unger, Biblical Demonology;
_____, What Demons Can Do to Saints
M. Wink, Naming the Powers
_____, Unmasking the Powers
_____, Engaging the Power

Page last updated on Saturday, 27 August 2016 04:32 PM
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Major content changes after May 3, 2015 are identified as "Revisions”)