Rescuing Heaven & Angels from Christianity
“Heaven in the Bible is nowhere the destination of the dying.”
—J.A.T. Robinson, In the End, God, p. 108
God's Dwelling-place in heaven
Being that the divine names that God were known as the Most High and the Creator, and also that as Elohim he summed up the pantheon in his own person, belief in his dwelling in heaven can only be regarded as the natural complement to this. Explicit evidence for the time of the Judges and the early monarchy is afforded by the following passages: Gen. 11:5; 19:24; 21.17; 22:11; 24:7; 28:12; Pss. 24; 18:7; Ex. 19:18; I Kings 8:12.
In that prophetic period the widening of men's vision of the world and the deepening of their grasp of Yahweh's universal power gave them a special sensitivity to his exaltedness, with the result that the texts which speak of heaven as the true dwelling-place of Yahweh are multiplied. On Sinai he had spoken with the people from heaven; now it is in heaven that he sits enthroned in his palace as king of the universe. Thence—as Solomon's prayer in the Temple expressed it —he answers the supplications of his people, when they spread out their hands toward heaven. In the Persian period preference is given more than ever to the description of Yahweh as the God of Heaven, because, as the name Elyon had done, it allowed of a link with the elements of truth in the heathen concept of God.
The decisive factor with regard to this localization of Yahweh, however, is not a metaphysical and speculative but a religious concern; Yahweh's exalted position above the earth illustrates the fact that he sees everything, and that neither the iniquity nor the piety of men remains hidden from him. And as with his omniscience this is also the favorite illustration of his omnipotence; Isa. 40:22 describes men as grasshoppers in the presence of him who sits upon the circle of the earth.
When it is noted that assertions of God's dwelling in heaven often occur in the selfsame authors as those of his revelation at places on earth, it becomes completely beyond question that such expressions do not imply an interest in any particular localization of God. In every case it is rather the religious need which is the criterion, now calling for the portrayal of a God near at hand or the recollection of the privilege of his self-revelation in the midst of his people, now preferring to set before men's eyes the remote, exalted God, in order to educate them in reverence and trust. That even the conception of God as the God of heaven was not in itself an infallible protection against dragging him down to the human level is shown by Job 22:13-14, where the godless attempt to comfort themselves with the words: 'What does God know? Can he judge through the deep darkness ? Thick clouds enwrap him, so that he does not see, and he walks on the vault of heaven.' But the same idea could be equally dangerous to living piety when God's heavenly dwelling was taken to imply his separation from earth in a deistic sense, with the result that the feeling for the immediate nearness of God was lost. Such errors arouse frequent protests. In the present context it is interesting to note that none of this ever led to an assertion of God's nature as purely spiritual, involving as this does an abstraction which it is always difficult for human thinking to make, but that men were content with the negative statement that God was too exalted even for heaven to contain him (I Kings 8:27). Or the two great domains are set on a par side by side as God's realm: to God 'belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it' (Deut. 10:14); he alone is 'God in heaven above and on the earth beneath' (Deut. 4.39; Josh. 2.11); yea, he fills heaven and earth (Jer. 23:24).
The religious significance of these expressions is not, of course, lessened by the fact that Israel's conception of the cosmos and of the place of heaven within it displays some decidedly naive features, and is very largely in agreement with the cosmological conceptions of non-Israelite peoples. That this should be so throws as little doubt on the primacy of the dynamic over the localized idea of Yahweh's presence as on the distinctive character of the Israelite creation belief. And the effectiveness of this primacy may be seen in the control which it exercises over even the loftier statements about Yahweh's dwelling and in the refusal to allow imaginative myth-making to play arbitrarily about the figure of God enthroned in heaven. The concept most frequently associated with Yahweh's dwelling in heaven is that of the sovereign and king; evidence for this is to be found in both earlier and later presentations, even those in which the title melek is not used. Of prime importance in this connection is Isa. 6. Here before the eyes of the prophet waiting in the Temple the earthly sanctuary opens up into the heavenly throne-room wherein God holds council as king in the midst of his celestial courtiers. That this was a visionary experience, in which, as is well known, traditional imagery plays a large part, does not exclude the possibility that particular elements in the vision, and especially that of God's kingship, were already present beforehand in the prophet's consciousness. Confirmation of this is afforded both by I Kings 22:19, in which Yahweh as king of heaven takes counsel with the entire heavenly host, standing beside him to right and left, how best to deceive Ahab, and by the old folktale of Job 1 and 2 with its very similar picture. Ex. 24:10 may also be adduced, where the divine signs to the elders of Israel is described in the words: 'there was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness.' The same association of royal sovereignty with heavenly grandeur occurs in many cultic poems.
What is new and distinctive in the prophet's picture is not that he possesses such conceptions of God's cosmic throne but that they play so large a part in his thought This is bound up with the fact that for the priest who has had to live through the destruction of the Temple the transcendence of God is an anchor for his faith, without which it would inevitably have suffered shipwreck. At the same time, however, this king of heaven is for him the one who acts in the present moment, who calls his messengers to himself even in the unclean land of exile and carries on his work. Here again the particular turns of phrase are determined not by theological speculation but by the concern for God's presence in self-revelation. Only in later Judaism did the theoretic-constructive element invade the prophetic vision, and systematize the picture of the kabod in accordance with the needs of the Jewish concept of holiness by inventing a heavenly Ark-shrine to take the place of the earthly one which had been destroyed. Yet even here it was still a question of giving expression to the practical ideas of faith, and not of a completely unrelated fantasy-formation.
History of the Modern Christian Idea of “Heaven”
As astounding as it may seem, neither Jesus nor his disciples taught that the righteous go to a heaven realm upon death! Notice the admission of a secular encyclopedia:
"The dominant view in the early church seems to have been that until the return of the Lord upon the clouds of heaven to raise the dead, those who had died were asleep, and that they would be suddenly awakened to be given their new bodies, after which they would reign with Him on earth for a thousand years..." (The New International Encyclopedia, art. "Heaven," vol. 9, pp. 700-701).
Neither the original Jerusalem Jesus Movement nor the Ebionites or Nazarenes taught the concept of "going to heaven." Such teachings did not become popular until long after the death of Jesus and the disciples! Notice, however, what gradually happened: "But, largely under the influence of Greek thought, other conceptions [gradually] prevailed. The fate of the patriarchs, prophets, and pious men of the old dispensation naturally occupied much attention and led to the idea that they [their "immortal souls"] were detained in a preparatory abode which the fathers called limbus patrum, awaiting the advent of the Redeemer. The general belief of Christians has been that since the resurrection of Christ the just who are free from sin are admitted immediately after death into heaven, where their chief joy consists in the unclouded vision of God" (The New International Encyclopedia, art. "Heaven").
History shows that the teachings of Clement of Alexandria, Origen and others gradually turned the early christian church from the belief of a restored kingdom on earth. With the advent of the hellenist teachings the floodgates were opened. Hellenistic philosophy, which had borrowed heavily from ancient Egyptian mythology, began to replace the teachings of the Hebrew Bible as the source of doctrine. Prevailing concepts such as the immortality of the soul, an ever burning hell, purgatory and heaven all came directly out of ancient mythology. The christian church, in order to become universal, adopted and taught these prevailing pagan philosophies rather than the plain teachings of the Hebrew Bible.
Today, the idea of heaven being the "reward of the saved" is nearly universal among christian churches. The vast majority of professing christians look forward to going to a "heaven" where the righteous sit on clouds, pluck harps, shuffle through harp music, and look up into the face of the Master for all eternity. The original restorative teachings of Jesus and his end-times beliefs, involving Israel and the rest of the world, were dropped in favor of a more universal message.
“Jesus was not thinking of a colorless and purely heavenly beyond, but pictured it to himself as a state of things existing upon this earth —
though of course a transfigured earth — and in his own land.”
—W. Bousset, Jesus, p. 82
Who Exactly is the Creator?
Let's find out exactly who the Creator is. The very first verse of the Hebrew Scriptures tells us; "In the beginning Elohim created the heaven and the earth." Since "Elohim" is a title, (Mighty one, Strength) this does not clearly identify the Creator, so we need more information. Gen. 2: 4 reads, "These are the births of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that Yahweh Elohim made the earth and heavens." It is quite clear here in this passage, that the Elohim of Gen. 1:1 is indeed God, and that He is the Creator.
God the Creator alone IS SELF-Existent, (the UN-originated original). He is First of all things (Isa. 41:4), and He alone is Creator (Ps 146:5-6). This being a basic truth direct from Torah and The Prophets, we must conclude that ALL that has existence must have come into being by God.
Messengers of God (Angels)
Now that we understand that God is The Creator of All and all things come from Him then we can discuss what His Messengers are. The erroneous transliterated name “angel” comes from “angelos” the greek transliteration of the hebrew name “mal'akhim”. Both names mean only one thing: “messenger(s)”. Simply put, His messengers are extensions or agents of His Will. Elohim created/creates or imbued/imbues persons or animals as His messengers for certain tasks, they are employed to handle some of His logistics. They do not have free will, but the ability to make decisions and take actions within the parameters of the job set before them by Elohim. Their existence is based on God allowing it (as His messenger) and since God is The Creator and Destroyer, they exist and serve only at His Command. They cannot roam freely and do as they please, they must have God’s permission for every action taken as His messenger.
There is no such thing as a fallen angel or spiritual warfare in the Hebrew Scriptures nor in the teachings of Jesus. To imply that there are fallen angels with free will and/or a spiritual war in heaven would imply that God is not the UN-originated original and that He does not have ultimate control over His whole creation. These are blasphemous and corruptible beliefs.
The Book of Revelation is heavy with allegory and imagery of a “war in heaven and earth” etc. The Revelation should NOT be taken literally and should be taken in context with the rest of the Uncorrupted Scriptures of the Renewed Covenant. Simply put, while the protagonist within The Revelation is the Son of Elohim and Elohim’s Messengers, the antagonist is a False Messiah, a False Prophet whom also has messengers. Nothing requires the False Messiah to be a supernatural or divine being nor do his messengers have to be “angels”. The war is between those that believe and those that do not.
The pseudepigraphic Book of Enoch tells tales of fallen angels and angel-human hybrids. There are christians whom profess the “canonicity” of the Book of Enoch. They make a grave assumption that because there is a brief quote from the man Enoch in the pseudepigraphic Jude that therefore means that the whole Book of Enoch is fair game to be accepted as canon. These groups follow corrupt beliefs. Jude itself is pseudepigraphic (the same as 1 & 2 Peter), it does not belong with any 'canonized' scripture. These three "new testament" books so readily accepted into canon are known to be extremely late compositions far removed from the apostles that whose names they are titled with. Therefore, that the man Enoch is quoted within Jude means nothing.
Aside from quoting pseudepigraphic Jude and 1 & 2 Peter, many supporters of the the Book of Enoch also quote Genesis 6:4 as singular proof within Tanakh that the Book of Enoch is validated. This verse is often translated as “Sons of God” which is similar to what the giant ‘angels’ in Enoch are called. However, this is a literal translation and past interpretations even prior to Jesus translate the phrase as “Sons of (great) Judges or Princes.” Also there are brief references to “Titans” in reference to these Sons. Obviously they (Titans) would be an expected translation to describe the parent of the “Sons”, if these are important sons of important “judges” or “princes”, then the parent could easily be described also as a “Titan” or Titanic. Ancient hebrew doesn’t always translate perfectly to other languages. Also, much of the Scriptures has a thread of politics running through it, these titles could simply be sarcasm or great respect. Sometimes, we don’t get a lot of context in the Hebrew Scriptures. However, to simply say that an off-handed translation of one verse and one description validates the fantastical stories of a pseudepigraphic Book is making quite the careless jump in conclusions.
“Angels”, as christians and many others profess to know them, are conglomerations of mythical ideas applied to the modern corrupted teachings of christianity. Angels as they are portrayed have absolutely no basis in the Hebrew Scriptures nor the teachings of Jesus. To believe that “Jesus” and his “New Testament” ushered in a new era of free-willed and warring “Angels” and did away with the subordinate Mal'akhim is unsupportable.
The Nachash (wrongly translated ‘Serpent’, means, "shinning enchanter") must also be a product of God’s Creation.
"Now the Nachash was shrewd above every living thing of the field (earth life) that God Elohim made" (Gen. 3:1). Note: This is the same created individual that talked the woman Eve into disobeying God in the Garden of Eden. The offspring (descendants) of the Nachash, and the offspring, of the woman Eve (and Adam) will have hatred between them (Gen. 3:15). In other-words, the ‘adversary pressure’ placed upon the descendants of Adam and Eve (Adamites) by the descendants of the Nachash is continuous, and the result is hatred. The Nachash are adversaries toward Adamites.
This matter of God creating the Nachash is very important, and requires some very serious thought, because in it lies the whole cause of Adams sin entrance into the arranged plan of God’s Creation (world). You see, God is an Elohim of purpose. He says, "My counsel does stand, and all My delight I do" (Isa.46: 10). "And I have created the waster to destroy" (Isa.54: 16). The Nachash are simply in the plan of God and were created to perform a specific purpose in accordance with the Creator’s will.
Were the Nachash and his descendants an experiment?
Did He know being the all-wise Creator what the result would be. Yes, He knew what the outcome would be, He knew the result, and it was just as He had planned it. God did not create a world, then turn it loose to see what would happen. No, He works all things after the council of His will. Yes, His will. He watches each one of His creatures very closely. There is nothing that occurs without His foreknowledge. God knows what will occur from the beginning of time, just as though it had already occurred. His knowledge is unlimited, knowing the end from the beginning (Isa. 46: 10).
God in His wisdom saw the need for an adversary(s), an opponent(s), (or a satan), someone to work counter to His plans and purpose, and to undertake an attempt to overthrow His ultimate plan of the salvation and praise of all of His creation. So, we see that that an adversary, and even EVIL itself, is in God’s plan. Without opposition, God could never show His superiority, His love. This fact is simple when we think of it. God needed sin and wickedness in order to have an opportunity to show to the creation (world), His mighty power over adversaries, the Adversary and his satellites. If the Pharaoh of Egypt had not been motivated by an EVIL spirit he would not have held the children of Israel in bondage. All occurred so that God might show to the Creation His power over the adversary(s). Pharaoh was raised up for this very purpose (Ex. 9:16). Pharaoh’s heart was made stubborn by God (Gen. 10:1-2).
There are many events recorded in Scripture, where God used an adversary (a satan) to carry out His purpose. It is evident that even Judas of himself would not have been strong enough to have betrayed the Messiah Yehoshua), but he was fortified by the Adversary. Only then was he able to betray Yehoshua. In this way God’s plan was again completed.
Could we appreciate the good, if it were not contrasted with the bad?
Had we not known darkness, we would not appreciate the light. We must first be hungry to enjoy a good meal. God could never have worked out His great purpose without contrast in His creation, such as EVIL and wickedness. A physician would not receive any praise in his profession if he found no one sick. Neither would God be praised for the deliverance ‘from sin’ if no one had been lost ‘in sin’. Nothing can be accomplished without contrast. But the comforting thought is that God, by whom all things exist, is not only able but will transmute all EVIL, wickedness, and sin into good. No wonder the Scriptures tell us, "For the wrath of mankind praises You God" (Psa.76: 10).
’Modern Christendom’ would have us believe the error, that the being called Satan was first created an angel (messenger) then fell and lost his first estate. However, John says that he sinned from the beginning (1 Jn. 3:8). If this adversary called Satan was created a messenger, and then fell without God’s knowledge, attention or control, in an independent act of his own will, would the inhabitants of heaven (or of the earth), ever be safe at any time, not knowing when one of the other messengers might of his own authority decide to become EVIL, and destroy the whole of God’s plan and purpose? Of course not. We are told in the Scriptures to let God be true and every man a liar. Let’s believe that God is indeed true.
In all matters?
That is what it says. Then we must believe that God is operating the whole universe, all of His creation, and is in full control, directing each occurrence. Why should we try to shield God’s association with EVIL, when He says, "Yahweh has made all for His purpose and also the wrong for the day of EVIL" (Pro.16: 4). "forming the light and creating darkness, making peace and creating EVIL, I, Yahweh, do all these" (Isa.45: 7).
God Creates EVIL (the bad) The following verses show that God creates EVIL, that he threatens people with EVIL, and that he sends EVIL spirits, among other things. As you read through these verses (and please don't skim quickly over them), note that these verses make it very clear that God is responsible for EVIL, and not simply a passive bystander "allowing" EVIL to happen. In the verses that follow, we have replaced the true name, Yahweh, for “Master” and "Elohim" We quote the first set of verses in several versions, because the newer translations try to soften the conflict by translating the Hebrew "RA" (EVIL) as "disaster" or "woe" or "calamity." But it doesn't really matter what English word is used. The hideous effects are the same, and Yahweh claims responsibility for them all.
First, the correct definition of the word EVIL:
In the Hebrew, the word EVIL is "RA", and simply means "bad," in the Greek the word is "KAK- ON" the meaning is the same (the opposite of good) i.e. bad. But, the definition is to be distinguished from sin, in that it is not a mistake when Yahweh creates EVIL. Thus, the word has no moral tinge.
NIV: I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and CREATE DISASTER; I, Yahweh, do all these things.
NASB: The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well being and CREATING CALAMITY; I am Yahweh who does all these.
RSV: I form light and create darkness, I make weal and CREATE WOE, I am Yahweh, who do[es] all these things.
KJV: I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and CREATE EVIL: I Yahweh do all these things.
DBY: forming the light and creating darkness, making peace and CREATING EVIL: I, Yahweh, do all these things.
YLT: Forming light, and preparing darkness, Making peace, and PREPARING EVIL, I [am] Yahweh, doing all these things.'
NIV: Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both CALAMITIES and good things come?
NASB: Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both good and ILL go forth?
RSV: Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and EVIL come?
KJV: Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not EVIL and good?
DBY: Out of the mouth of the Most High doeth not there proceed EVIL and good?
YLT: From the mouth of the Most High Go not forth the EVILS and the good.
NIV: Perhaps they will listen and each will turn from his EVIL way. Then I will relent and not bring on them the DISASTER I was planning because of the EVIL they have done.
NASB: "Perhaps they will listen and everyone will turn from his EVIL way, that I may repent of the CALAMITY which I am planning to do to them because of the EVIL of their deeds.' RSV: It may be they will listen, and every one turn from his EVIL way, that I may repent of the EVIL which I intend to do to them because of their EVIL doings.
KJV: If so be they will hearken, and turn every man from his EVIL way, that I may repent me of the EVIL, which I purpose to do unto them because of the EVIL of their doings.
DBY: Peradventure they will hearken, and turn every man from his EVIL way, that I may repent me of the EVIL which I purpose to do unto them because of the wickedness of their doings.
YLT: If so be they hearken, and turn back each from his EVIL way, then I have repented concerning the EVIL that I am thinking of doing to them, because of the EVIL of their doings.
What About the Creation of Angels? Are Positive/Negative Aspects Also Associated with Them?
God both used and sustains (both the positive and the negative ones) good and evil, this also applies to angels, as well as to man and every other created thing in the universe. We will first concentrate on the negative side of the characteristics and purposes of angels 'messengers' (since in man's experience this is the most neglected because we almost always want to associate 'celestial' angels with "righteousness" and "goodness" and not the evil side of the angelic realm). But, in the Set Apart Scriptures, all of the verses of the Scripture that describe the actions of angels (no matter what type of angelic creatures are being discussed: cherubs, archangels and other distinctions), the negative attributes of angels are emphasized far more in the Scripture than their righteous characteristics. After all, we are told in no uncertain terms that the accuser is shown to have been created by God to be "a murderer from the beginning" — that is, from the very commencement of his creation he was already reckoned by God to be a murderer (John 8:44). Furthermore, he is called "a liar and the father of it [lying]" (also John 8:44). The last part of the verse means that Jesus considered satan (adversary in the Hebrew) as the first one ever to tell a lie — that is, he was a lying murderer from the beginning of his existence. What we must realize is the fact that satan can do no more than God has determined for that angelic power to perform. Satan is completely dominated by (and even governed by) the will and commands of God the Father. Even though satan is a murderer and liar, satan can do no more that God allows him, or that God tells him to do (as in Job 1:6-12 and 2:1-6). And even if, on some occasions God does let the adversary touch our lives with evil, the outcome will always be to our benefit.
It is pure nonsense and decidedly anti-biblical to state (or even to believe) that the adversary (satan) was at first a righteous angel that somehow fell from grace after his creation. This false doctrine is normally taught by some theologians and preachers because they erroneously declare that satan is the anointed cherub who covered the Mercy Seat in the heavenly House of God as described in Ezekiel 28:11-19. That "King of Tyre" was another personality altogether. The truth is, the adversary was created and ordained to do his role as a murderer and to be the father of liars from his first spark of his life. That is the clear teaching of the Scripture. When he performs in this capacity, he is in fact doing God's will.
The Supreme Authority of God the Creator
Deuteronomy 10:14 "See, the heavens, and the heaven of heavens belong to Yahweh your Elohim, also the earth with all that is in it."
Deuteronomy 32:39 "See now that I, I am he, And there is no Elohim besides Me. I put to death and I make alive. I have wounded, and I heal. And from My hand no one delivers."
1 Samuel 2:6-8 "Yahweh puts to death and makes alive, He brings down to the gave, and raises up. Yahweh makes poor and makes rich, He brings low and lifts up, He raises the poor from the dust, He lifts the needy from the dunghill, to sit with princes, and make them inherit a throne of esteem."
2 Chronicles 20:6 "O Yahweh Elohim of our fathers, are You not our Elohim in the heavens, and do You not rule over all the reigns of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to stand against You?"
Jeremiah 27:5, 6 "I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are on the face of the earth, by My great power and by My outstretched arm. And I shall give it unto whom it seemed right in My eyes. And now, I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the sovereign of Babel, My servant. And the beasts of the field I have also given him to serve him."
Daniel 4:17 "...the most High is ruler in the reign of men, and gives it to whomever He wishes, and sets over it the lowest of men."
1 Chronicles 29:11 "Yours, O Yahweh, is the greatness, the power and the comeliness, the pre- eminence and the excellency, because of all that is in the heavens and in the earth. Yours is the reign, O Yahweh, and You are exalted as head above all."
Therefore, it is plainly seen that the angels are beings created and wholly controled by God. They are not beings that have free will and cause things to happen on earth unless it is the will of God. Since God is the Creator of all that exists, and in complete control of all His Creation and, as the Creator, we see that God is the author of both good and EVIL.
So you can see that the Scriptures credits God with responsibility for EVIL. Next time you hear of or personally see or experience a calamity or disaster, or woe, or any other kind of EVIL, the biblical thing for you to do would be to credit God with it. Disease, starvation, natural catastrophes of all kinds are claimed by God. According to the Scriptures he often sends these pestilences out of revenge, or for correction, but sometimes he sends them for no apparent reason to us.
The old Christian ruse that God simply "allows" EVIL to happen cannot stand up to these Scriptural citations. For the Christian to deny this, he also has to deny the subject-verb grammar of God's "Word," which is said to have been inspired down to the detail of the individual words chosen by the Set Apart Spirit. So, either the Scripture(s) are not inerrant, or God is indeed responsible for EVIL, creating it and putting it to use regularly in accordance with his will, for His purpose!