Angels - A Summary of the Christian Faith by Henry Eyster Jacobs - Chapter 6

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Question: Are we to invoke angels for their aid? This is forbidden by Col. 1:18 — “Let no man rob you of your prize by worshiping of the angels.” Rev. 19:10 — “And I fell down before his feet to worship him. And he saith unto me, See thou do it not: I am a fellow-servant with thee and with thy brethren that hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God.” Cf. 22:8, 9. It also conflicts with the sole mediatorship of Christ (Rom. 8:34; 1 Tim. 2:5; 1 John 2:1).

(You can find other chapters of Jacobs’ book here.)

Chapter 6 - Of Angels

1. Why is the doctrine of Angels treated at this place?

Because after treating of Creation and Providence, we consider the chief creatures of God, Angels and Men, and the chief instruments of God’s Providential activity, Angels,

2. Why is so little prominence given it in the Confessions of the Church?

Because with the gift of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost, and His abiding presence with the Church, the consciousness of the favor and nearness of God in Christ, completely subordinates their agency in the heart of the Christian. With the fuller appropriation of assurance of faith and of adoption as children of God, which entered with the study of St. Paul at the Reformation period, the chief allusions in the Confessions are in the cautions given against an abuse of the doctrine.

3. Is the doctrine, therefore, unimportant?

By no means. But the Reformation had to protest against the excessive attention that had been previously accorded it.

4. What are angels?

Pure and complete spirits, created by God, to be His agents in the administration of creation.

5. Why do we call them “pure” or “complete spirits”?

In distinction from men who need bodies for the completion of their being. Man, between death and the resurrection, exists without body, but it is an incomplete condition endured as a result of sin.

6. Are angels the only pure or complete spirits?

God is such. But angels differ from God in that while He is an infinite, they are finite spirits.

7. But are not angels sometimes described as having bodies?

Yes, but these bodies are assumed temporarily, and cast aside when the purpose for which they have been used has been accomplished. They have no more identity with the personality of angels than the pen has with the writer, or the needle with the seamstress.

8. What do we know of their creation?

Nothing more than the fact (Col. 1:16). The entire absence of any allusion to the creation of angels in the Mosaic account shows that the record does not aim to be exhaustive. They are described as being in existence, if not before the creation of the earth, at any rate contemporaneously with it.

Job 34:4, 7 — “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”

That “sons of God” in the Book of Job are angels is proved from Chap. 1:6.

9. What are the attributes common to Good and Bad Angels?

Those belonging to complete finite spirits. They are simple or irresolvable into parts; invisible except through an assumed form; immutable so far as inner physical changes are concerned; immortal, i. e., dependency upon God; and illocal, or independent of ordinary spatial relations. They have extraordinary intelligence, a free will, great power, limitation with respect to presence, but ability to change this presence with extraordinary swiftness.

10. How as to their number?

Dan. 7:10 — “Thousands of thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.”

Matt. 26:53 — “He shall even now send me more than twelve legions of angels?”

11. How many states of angels are there?

Three. The State of Grace, the State of Glory and the State of Misery. The State of Grace is that in which they were all originally created equally wise and holy, and for eternal happiness (Gen. 1:31; John 8:44).

The State of Glory is that in which the angels who abode in the wisdom and holiness in which they were created, have been admitted to the clear sight of God, and perpetually enjoy His goodness (Matt. 18:10; Ps. 16:11).

The State of Misery is the sad condition of the angels who, of their own accord and by the abuse of their free will, departed from God (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6).

12. What differences in these three states with respect to the possibility of sinning?

In the State of Grace they were able either to sin or not to sin (posse peccare aut non peccare).

In the State of Glory they are not able to sin (non posse peccare).

In the State of Misery they cannot refrain from sinning (non posse non peccare).

13. What ground is there for affirming the impeccability of the Good Angels?

The godly, after the resurrection, are said to be immortal, and “equal unto the angels” (Luke 20:36); and the Lord’s Prayer refers to the perfection with which God’s will is done in heaven (Matt 6:10).

14. But is such impeccability consistent with freedom of the will?

Yes. Not to be able to sin is the highest degree of freedom. Such is the freedom of God. To be raised not only above all imperfection, but especially above all liability to suffer from an imperfection, is the highest perfection. (See Chapter 23: 29, 30.)

15. What was the ground for the exaltation of the Good Angels to this higher stage?

No absolute decree of God, for it was based upon the condition of merit. Not .the merit of Christ, for He came to seek that which was lost (Luke 19:10) while the Good Angels were never lost; and He is the “Mediator between God and men” (1 Tim 2:5), not between God and angels. Nor was it any merit of their own; since they were under obligation, in virtue of their creation, to serve God to their utmost power. The sole ground, therefore, is the unmerited goodness of God.

16. What of the knowledge of angels?

When Christ wished to state the impossibility of knowing a certain event, He made it very emphatic by saying that not even the angels in heaven know it (Mark 13:32). Thus He declared both the greatness and the limitations of their knowledge. Only God knows the secrets of men’s hearts (1 Kings 8:39). Not only is there much beyond which they have desired to know (1 Peter 1:12), but, in God’s own time, this is made known to them by revelation (Eph. 3:10).

17. What of their power?

The destruction of Sennacherib’s army of 185,000 men, in one night, by a single angel (2 Kings 19:35), is a sufficient proof. They are said to be “mighty in strength” (Ps. 103:7), “angels of his power” (2 Thess. 1:7).

18. What are the works of Good Angels?

(a) The adoring worship of God (Dan. 7:10; see Q 10; Is. 6:2; Rev. 4:8; Matt. 6:10) .

(b) The service of the godly.

Heb. 1:14 — “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to do service for the sake of them that shall inherit salvation?”

Ps. 91:11 — “He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.”

19. Has each child of God a guardian angel?

It is going too far to derive such a doctrine from Matt 18:10 and Acts 12:15. The godly are frequently comforted with the assurance that they are protected not by an angel, but by angels. See Ps. 91: n, cited above. A number of angels — sometimes a host — attend one man (Gen. 32:2; 2 Kings 6:16; Luke 16:22), and -rejoice over the repentance of but one sinner (Luke 15:10).

20. Within what sphere do they serve the godly?

Within that of the natural world. They are revealed as active at peculiarly critical epochs in human life (Matt. 1:10; 4:11; Acts 10:3; Luke 16:22). There is no evidence that they work otherwise than through second causes. Their connection with the Kingdom of Grace is only for the disposition of Providential agencies in its service. The mysteries of incarnation and redemption were beyond their grasp (Eph. 3:9). It is not their office to effect any of those spiritual changes within man, which the Holy Spirit works through the word of the Gospel. Angels bring deliverance from bodily dangers, but they are no way revealed as regenerating or sanctifying.

21. Where is their activity especially prominent?

At every great epoch of God’s revelation of Himself in deed. At Creation (Job 38:7); the Giving of the Law (Deut. 33:2; Gal. 3:19); the Incarnation (Luke 1:20; 2:9,13); the Temptation (Matt. 4:11); the Passion (Luke 22:43) 5 the Resurrection (John 20:12); the Ascension (Acts 2:11), and the Final Judgment (Matt. 25:31; Mark 13:27; Matt. 13:41,49; 1 Thess. 4:16; 2 Thess. 1:7).

22. Is this activity confined to individuals?

No. It is extended to nations (Dan. 10), and to the assemblies of Christians (1 Cor. 11:10; 1 Tim. 5:21; Eph. 3:10).

23. Are we to invoke angels for their aid?

This is forbidden by Col. 1:18 — “Let no man rob you of your prize by worshiping of the angels.”

Rev. 19:10 — “And I fell down before his feet to worship him. And he saith unto me, See thou do it not: I am a fellow-servant with thee and with thy brethren that hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God.” Cf. 22:8, 9. It also conflicts with the sole mediatorship of Christ (Rom. 8:34; 1 Tim. 2:5; 1 John 2:1).

24. But are there not several kinds of worship, one of which belongs to God alone, and another also to angels?

For this argument of the Greek and Roman churches, there is no Scriptural warrant. We indeed should honor and revere them as God’s ministers, and thank Him for what He effects for us through their agency; but this is far different from worshiping them or invoking their intercession (1 Cor. 11:10; 1 Tim. 5:21; Luke 15:7, 10).

25. Are there no: instances where worship is actually accorded an angel?

If such passages as Gen. 18:1-3 actually accord such worship, it is because it is given either to the “Angel of the Lord” as the uncreated Angel, who is none less than Jehovah Himself, or to the Angel, as the representative of Jehovah. (The former view is advocated at length by Kurtz, “History of O. T. Covenant” I, Sec. 50.)

26. What different orders of Good Angels are there?

Col. 1:16 — “Things invisible, whether thrones or dominions, or principalities, or powers.”

Rom. 8:38 — “Nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers.” Eph. 3:10 — “The principalities and powers in heavenly places.” 1 Thess. 4:16 — “The voice of the archangel.” Jude 9 — “Michael the archangel.”

27. What higher orders appear in the Old Testament?

Cherubim and Seraphim, distinguished from angels properly so called, in that while angels go forth as messengers, they stand in the presence of God. The Cherubim are described four-winged. Their appearance indicates a special divine presence. They are the attendants of the divine glory as it descends to man (Ps. 18:10; 80:1; 99:1; 2 Sam. 22:11; Is. 37:16). The Seraphim are described six-winged and dwell in the secret glory of God. They do not descend, but are manifested only when man is raised to contemplate the glory of God (Is. 6:2-6; Rev. 4:7 sqq.).

28. By what figure is the brilliancy of their endowments indicated?

They are sometimes called stars (Job 38:7; Ps. 148:3) and compared to lightning (Luke 10:18).

29. What problem meets us when we consider the fall of some angels?

That of the origin of evil.

30. Is it explicable?

No. The farthest we can go is to learn that it was God’s will that the perfections with which angels were originally endowed should be increased and developed in their struggle against evil. To this end, therefore, they were endowed with a will which was able to sin.

31. Did the sin of the Bad Angels come from any external source?

No, but from the will of beings originally pure and holy spontaneously turning from God.

John 8:44 — “When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own.”

32. Did it come from any lack of divine grace which those who did not fall enjoyed?

This would make God the author of their sin.

33. What was the form of the sin whereby they fell?

Because of the motive presented Eve for her sin (Gen. 3:5), and of the final temptation addressed our Lord by Satan (Matt. 4:9), many have thought that it was pride. The root of all pride, however, is unbelief.

34. What was the order of their fall?

First, the fall of a chief, called Satan, “the adversary, “ or the Devil, “the accuser,” or “the Prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2); and through his instrumentality, the fall of the rest. For John 8:44 calls him a “murderer from the beginning,” and Luke 11:15, “the prince of the demons,” while Matt. 25:41 and Rev. 12:7 refer to the rest as his “angels.”

Ecclesiasticus 10:13: “For pride is the beginning of sin,” was cited by the old writers as a proof.

35. What effect had their fall upon their angelic endowments?

A contraction of their knowledge and intellectual penetration; for while an extraordinary knowledge of supernatural things remains, the effort of the devil to lead Christ astray by temptation, and the putting into the heart of Judas the thought of betraying Him, and thereby of preparing Satan’s own ruin (1 Cor. 2:7,8), show his ignorance.

A great limitation also of their power. While according to Matt. 12:29; Luke 11:21; Eph. 6:12; 1 Peter 5:8, this power is still such as is not to be overlooked or despised, except by a special permission of God it cannot harm (Job 1:12; 2:6; Matt. 8:31). In Jude 8, this limitation is expressed under the figure of “chains,” whereby they are confined until the Day of Judgment. This power God knows how to turn to His own purpose. 1 Tim. 2:25, 26 speaks of those who are taken captive by Satan unto the will of God. Of this the entire drama of the Book of Job is an example.

Their freedom of will was also limited. Henceforth they can will nothing but sin. Their freedom has to do only with a choice between particular evils.

36. What disposition of God have they incurred?

His irreconcilable wrath (2 Peter 2:5; Jude v. 6; Heb. 2:16).

37. What of their disposition towards God and His creatures other than themselves?

Knowing that there is a God (James 2:19), that He is almighty, and that, while infinitely good to the Good Angels and men, He is and will be to eternity severe towards them, not only are they without love, but they fear and hate Him with all the powers of their nature. This hatred extends to all whom He loves and for whom He cares. Like those among men whom they inspire and incite, they “live in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.” Whatever harmony and co-operation exist among them is rooted not in love, but in their desire to harm and overthrow the good.

38. What of their future?

Matt. 25:41 — “Eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels.’* 2 Peter 2:4 — “Reserved unto judgment.”

Jude 6 — “Kept in everlasting bonds under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.”

39. Do they know this?

James 2:19 — “The demons also believe and shudder.”

Matt. 8:29 — Art thou come hither to torment us before the time?”

40. Meanwhile how are they occupied?

They are intent upon what may bring ruin upon man, and dishonor God (Luke 22:31; Eph. 6:11, 12; 1 Peter 5:8, 9; Luke 13:16; Job 1:12; 1 Cor. 7:5). Their attacks are directed not only against men individually, but are aimed particularly at the Church and its Means of Grace (Matt. 13:27; 1 Tim. 4:1,2; 1 Thess. 2:18).

41. What was demoniacal possession?

A special temporary bodily possession, permitted by God, in New Testament times, particularly those of the visible ministry of Christ, as a factor in the struggle of the powers of darkness with the Son of God for the control of the human race. After principalities and powers were spoiled in our Lord’s resurrection from the dead, we can find no bodily possession like that described in the Gospels.

Chapter 6 - Of Angels

1. Why is the doctrine of Angels treated at this place?

Because after treating of Creation and Providence, we consider the chief creatures of God, Angels and Men, and the chief instruments of God’s Providential activity, Angels,

2. Why is so little prominence given it in the Confessions of the Church?

Because with the gift of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost, and His abiding presence with the Church, the consciousness of the favor and nearness of God in Christ, completely subordinates their agency in the heart of the Christian. With the fuller appropriation of assurance of faith and of adoption as children of God, which entered with the study of St. Paul at the Reformation period, the chief allusions in the Confessions are in the cautions given against an abuse of the doctrine.

3. Is the doctrine, therefore, unimportant?

By no means. But the Reformation had to protest against the excessive attention that had been previously accorded it.

4. What are angels?

Pure and complete spirits, created by God, to be His agents in the administration of creation.

5. Why do we call them “pure” or “complete spirits”?

In distinction from men who need bodies for the completion of their being. Man, between death and the resurrection, exists without body, but it is an incomplete condition endured as a result of sin.

6. Are angels the only pure or complete spirits?

God is such. But angels differ from God in that while He is an infinite, they are finite spirits.

7. But are not angels sometimes described as having bodies?

Yes, but these bodies are assumed temporarily, and cast aside when the purpose for which they have been used has been accomplished. They have no more identity with the personality of angels than the pen has with the writer, or the needle with the seamstress.

8. What do we know of their creation?

Nothing more than the fact (Col. 1:16). The entire absence of any allusion to the creation of angels in the Mosaic account shows that the record does not aim to be exhaustive. They are described as being in existence, if not before the creation of the earth, at any rate contemporaneously with it.

Job 34:4, 7 — “Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”

That “sons of God” in the Book of Job are angels is proved from Chap. 1:6.

9. What are the attributes common to Good and Bad Angels?

Those belonging to complete finite spirits. They are simple or irresolvable into parts; invisible except through an assumed form; immutable so far as inner physical changes are concerned; immortal, i. e., dependency upon God; and illocal, or independent of ordinary spatial relations. They have extraordinary intelligence, a free will, great power, limitation with respect to presence, but ability to change this presence with extraordinary swiftness.

10. How as to their number?

Dan. 7:10 — “Thousands of thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.”

Matt. 26:53 — “He shall even now send me more than twelve legions of angels?”

11. How many states of angels are there?

Three. The State of Grace, the State of Glory and the State of Misery. The State of Grace is that in which they were all originally created equally wise and holy, and for eternal happiness (Gen. 1:31; John 8:44).

The State of Glory is that in which the angels who abode in the wisdom and holiness in which they were created, have been admitted to the clear sight of God, and perpetually enjoy His goodness (Matt. 18:10; Ps. 16:11).

The State of Misery is the sad condition of the angels who, of their own accord and by the abuse of their free will, departed from God (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6).

12. What differences in these three states with respect to the possibility of sinning?

In the State of Grace they were able either to sin or not to sin (posse peccare aut non peccare).

In the State of Glory they are not able to sin (non posse peccare).

In the State of Misery they cannot refrain from sinning (non posse non peccare).

13. What ground is there for affirming the impeccability of the Good Angels?

The godly, after the resurrection, are said to be immortal, and “equal unto the angels” (Luke 20:36); and the Lord’s Prayer refers to the perfection with which God’s will is done in heaven (Matt 6:10).

14. But is such impeccability consistent with freedom of the will?

Yes. Not to be able to sin is the highest degree of freedom. Such is the freedom of God. To be raised not only above all imperfection, but especially above all liability to suffer from an imperfection, is the highest perfection. (See Chapter 23: 29, 30.)

15. What was the ground for the exaltation of the Good Angels to this higher stage?

No absolute decree of God, for it was based upon the condition of merit. Not .the merit of Christ, for He came to seek that which was lost (Luke 19:10) while the Good Angels were never lost; and He is the “Mediator between God and men” (1 Tim 2:5), not between God and angels. Nor was it any merit of their own; since they were under obligation, in virtue of their creation, to serve God to their utmost power. The sole ground, therefore, is the unmerited goodness of God.

16. What of the knowledge of angels?

When Christ wished to state the impossibility of knowing a certain event, He made it very emphatic by saying that not even the angels in heaven know it (Mark 13:32). Thus He declared both the greatness and the limitations of their knowledge. Only God knows the secrets of men’s hearts (1 Kings 8:39). Not only is there much beyond which they have desired to know (1 Peter 1:12), but, in God’s own time, this is made known to them by revelation (Eph. 3:10).

17. What of their power?

The destruction of Sennacherib’s army of 185,000 men, in one night, by a single angel (2 Kings 19:35), is a sufficient proof. They are said to be “mighty in strength” (Ps. 103:7), “angels of his power” (2 Thess. 1:7).

18. What are the works of Good Angels?

(a) The adoring worship of God (Dan. 7:10; see Q 10; Is. 6:2; Rev. 4:8; Matt. 6:10) .

(b) The service of the godly.

Heb. 1:14 — “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to do service for the sake of them that shall inherit salvation?”

Ps. 91:11 — “He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.”

19. Has each child of God a guardian angel?

It is going too far to derive such a doctrine from Matt 18:10 and Acts 12:15. The godly are frequently comforted with the assurance that they are protected not by an angel, but by angels. See Ps. 91: n, cited above. A number of angels — sometimes a host — attend one man (Gen. 32:2; 2 Kings 6:16; Luke 16:22), and -rejoice over the repentance of but one sinner (Luke 15:10).

20. Within what sphere do they serve the godly?

Within that of the natural world. They are revealed as active at peculiarly critical epochs in human life (Matt. 1:10; 4:11; Acts 10:3; Luke 16:22). There is no evidence that they work otherwise than through second causes. Their connection with the Kingdom of Grace is only for the disposition of Providential agencies in its service. The mysteries of incarnation and redemption were beyond their grasp (Eph. 3:9). It is not their office to effect any of those spiritual changes within man, which the Holy Spirit works through the word of the Gospel. Angels bring deliverance from bodily dangers, but they are no way revealed as regenerating or sanctifying.

21. Where is their activity especially prominent? At every great epoch of God’s revelation of Himself in deed. At Creation (Job 38:7); the Giving of the Law (Deut. 33:2; Gal. 3:19); the Incarnation (Luke 1:20; 2:9,13); the Temptation (Matt. 4:11); the Passion (Luke 22:43) 5 the Resurrection (John 20:12); the Ascension (Acts 2:11), and the Final Judgment (Matt. 25:31; Mark 13:27; Matt. 13:41,49; 1 Thess. 4:16; 2 Thess. 1:7).

22. Is this activity confined to individuals?

No. It is extended to nations (Dan. 10), and to the assemblies of Christians (1 Cor. 11:10; 1 Tim. 5:21; Eph. 3:10).

23. Are we to invoke angels for their aid?

This is forbidden by Col. 1:18 — “Let no man rob you of your prize by worshiping of the angels.”

Rev. 19:10 — “And I fell down before his feet to worship him. And he saith unto me, See thou do it not: I am a fellow-servant with thee and with thy brethren that hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God.” Cf. 22:8, 9. It also conflicts with the sole mediatorship of Christ (Rom. 8:34; 1 Tim. 2:5; 1 John 2:1). 24. But ere there not several kinds of worship, one of which belongs to God alone, and another also to angels?

For this argument of the Greek and Roman churches, there is no Scriptural warrant. We indeed should honor and revere them as God’s ministers, and thank Him for what He effects for us through their agency; but this is far different from worshiping them or invoking their intercession (1 Cor. 11:10; 1 Tim. 5:21; Luke 15:7, 10).

25. Are there no: instances where worship is actually accorded an angel?

If such passages as Gen. 18:1-3 actually accord such worship, it is because it is given either to the “Angel of the Lord” as the uncreated Angel, who is none less than Jehovah Himself, or to the Angel, as the representative of Jehovah. (The former view is advocated at length by Kurtz, “History of O. T. Covenant” I, Sec. 50.)

26. What different orders of Good Angels are there?

Col. 1:16 — “Things invisible, whether thrones or dominions, or principalities, or powers.”

Rom. 8:38 — “Nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers.” Eph. 3:10 — “The principalities and powers in heavenly places.” 1 Thess. 4:16 — “The voice of the archangel.” Jude 9 — “Michael the archangel.”

27. What higher orders appear in the Old Testament?

Cherubim and Seraphim, distinguished from angels properly so called, in that while angels go forth as messengers, they stand in the presence of God. The Cherubim are described four-winged. Their appearance indicates a special divine presence. They are the attendants of the divine glory as it descends to man (Ps. 18:10; 80:1; 99:1; 2 Sam. 22:11; Is. 37:16). The Seraphim are described six-winged and dwell in the secret glory of God. They do not descend, but are manifested only when man is raised to contemplate the glory of God (Is. 6:2-6; Rev. 4:7 sqq.).

28. By what figure is the brilliancy of their endowments indicated? They are sometimes called stars (Job 38:7; Ps. 148:3) and compared to lightning (Luke 10:18).

29. What problem meets us when we consider the fall of some angels?

That of the origin of evil.

30. Is it explicable?

No. The farthest we can go is to learn that it was God’s will that the perfections with which angels were originally endowed should be increased and developed in their struggle against evil. To this end, therefore, they were endowed with a will which was able to sin.

31. Did the sin of the Bad Angels come from any external source?

No, but from the will of beings originally pure and holy spontaneously turning from God.

John 8:44 — “When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own.”

32. Did it come from any lack of divine grace which those who did not fall enjoyed?

This would make God the author of their sin.

33. What was the form of the sin whereby they fell?

Because of the motive presented Eve for her sin (Gen. 3:5), and of the final temptation addressed our Lord by Satan (Adatt. 4:9), many have thought that it was pride. The root of all pride, however, is unbelief.

34. What was the order of their fall?

First, the fall of a chief, called Satan, “the adversary, “ or the Devil, “the accuser,” or “the Prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2); and through his instrumentality, the fall of the rest. For John 8:44 calls him a “murderer from the beginning,” and Luke 11:15, “the prince of the demons,” while Matt. 25:41 and Rev. 12:7 refer to the rest as his “angels.”

Ecclesiasticus 10:13: “For pride is the beginning of sin,” was cited by the old writers as a proof.

35. What effect had their fall upon their angelic endowments?

A contraction of their knowledge and intellectual penetration; for while an extraordinary knowledge of supernatural things remains, the effort of the devil to lead Christ astray by temptation, and the putting into the heart of Judas the thought of betraying Him, and thereby of preparing Satan’s own ruin (i Cor. 2:7,8), show his ignorance.

A great limitation also of their power. While according to Matt. 12:29; Luke 11:21; Eph. 6:12; 1 Peter 5:8, this power is still such as is not to be overlooked or despised, except by a special permission of God it cannot harm (Job 1:12; 2:6; Matt. 8:31). In Jude 8, this limitation is expressed under the figure of “chains,” whereby they are confined until the Day of Judgment. This power God knows how to turn to His own purpose. 1 Tim. 2:25, 26 speaks of those who are taken captive by Satan unto the will of God. Of this the entire drama of the Book of Job is an example.

Their freedom of will was also limited. Henceforth they can will nothing but sin. Their freedom has to do only with a choice between particular evils.

36. What disposition of God have they incurred?

His irreconcilable wrath (2 Peter 2:5; Jude v. 6; Heb. 2:16).

37. What of their disposition towards God and His creatures other than themselves?

Knowing that there is a God (James 2:19), that He is almighty, and that, while infinitely good to the Good Angels and men, He is and will be to eternity severe towards them, not only are they without love, but they fear and hate Him with all the powers of their nature. This hatred extends to all whom He loves and for whom He cares. Like those among men whom they inspire and incite, they “live in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.” Whatever harmony and co-operation exist among them is rooted not in love, but in their desire to harm and overthrow the good.

38. What of their future?

Matt. 25:41 — “Eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels.’* 2 Peter 2:4 — “Reserved unto judgment.”

Jude 6 — “Kept in everlasting bonds under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.”

39. Do they know this?

James 2:19 — “The demons also believe and shudder.”

Matt. 8:29 — Art thou come hither to torment us before the time?”

40. Meanwhile how are they occupied?

They are intent upon what may bring ruin upon man, and dishonor God (Luke 22:31; Eph. 6:11, 12; 1 Peter 5:8, 9; Luke 13:16; Job 1:12; 1 Cor. 7:5). Their attacks are directed not only against men individually, but are aimed particularly at the Church and its Means of Grace (Matt. 13:27; 1 Tim. 4:1,2; 1 Thess. 2:18).

41. What was demoniacal possession?

A special temporary bodily possession, permitted by God, in New Testament times, particularly those of the visible ministry of Christ, as a factor in the struggle of the powers of darkness with the Son of God for the control of the human race. After principalities and powers were spoiled in our Lord’s resurrection from the dead, we can find no bodily possession like that described in the Gospels. (You can find other chapters of Jacobs’ book here.)

Originally published at: Comfort for Christians

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