248 – THE WORSHIP OF ANGELS
Paul writes in the letter to the Colossians, “Let no one rob you of your prize by a voluntary humility and worshipping of the angels, dwelling in the things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind” (Col. 2:18). The question is: Was there any worshipping of angels those days? Let us see. There was a law of angels, as it is written, “You who received the law as ordained by angels, and yet did not keep it” (Acts 7:53). Stephen affirmed this, but Paul declared the same thing: “What then is the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the seed should come to whom the promise has been made. It was ordained through angels by the hand of a mediator” (Gal. 3:19).There was also a gospel of angels (Gal. 1:18), and also a language of angels (1 Cor. 13:1). With such an intense manifestation of the angels among men, it does not surprise us that there was a worship of angels. Let us examine the participation of angels in the history of the Hebrew people, better, the people of Israel, from the beginning.
Jehovah appeared to Moses in a bush, on Mount Sinai. The text says, “And the angel of Jehovah appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush” (Ex. 3:2). Moses looked intently to the burning bush, and the text says, “When Jehovah saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush, and said, ‘Moses, Moses!’” (Ex. 3:4). This is the question: Was it the angel of Jehovah, or was it Jehovah who was there? Or are Jehovah and the angel the same person? Let us see what the great men of the Bible think about that. When the law was given on the mount, who was the one giving it? Jehovah said to Moses, “and be ready against the third day; for on the third day Yahweh will come down in the sight of all the people on Mount Sinai” (Ex. 19:11). “Moses led the people out of the camp to meet God; and they stood at the lower part of the mountain. Mount Sinai, all it, smoked, because Yahweh descended on it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly. When the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by a voice. Yahweh came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain. Yahweh called Moses to the top of the mountain” (Ex. 19:17-20).
In the next chapter, Jehovah proclaimed the Ten Commandments of the law in a loud voice. In the book of Deuteronomy, the episode is repeated. And Moses affirms that Jehovah in person proclaimed his Ten Commandments (Deut. 4:10-14; 5:22-24). If Jehovah descended from the top of the mountain to dictate his laws, why did Stephen, the first martyr of the Church, declare that it was an angel? Stephen affirms that an angel appeared in the burning bush (Acts. 7:35). He declares, then, that an angel proclaimed the law, not Jehovah, or is Jehovah an angel? (Acts 7:38). Then he repeats that the law was given by the command of the angels (Gal. 3:19). In this text Paul affirms that Moses was the mediator between the angels and Israel, but when Jehovah called him, made him a mediator (Ex. 3:1-16; 4:1-12). In the letter to the Hebrews we also read, “For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense; how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation — which at the first having been spoken through the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard” (Heb. 2:2-3). What salvation is he talking about? Salvation from the hands of the angels, for that is what the text and the context deal with (chapters 1 and 2). What were these angels who overcame and submitted men to such a deplorable state of corruption, in the language of Paul (Rom. 8:19-22)? These angels are fallen angels, principalities, and powers, who fight against the saved to make them fall (Eph. 6:12). What are these fallen angels? Peter answers: “For if God didn’t spare angels when they sinned, but cast them down to Tartarus, and committed them to pits of darkness, to be reserved for judgment” (2 Pet. 2:4).
The epistle of Jude also registers the fact. “Angels who didn’t keep their first domain, but deserted their own dwelling place, he has kept in everlasting bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day” (Jude 6). What is this judgment in which the angels are going to be judged? And who is going to judge those angels? The Church is going to judge the angels. Paul declares, “Dare any of you, having a matter against his neighbor, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? Don’t you know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? DON’T YOU KNOW THAT WE WILL JUDGE ANGELS? Don’t you know that we will judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?” (1 Cor. 6:1-3).
We have one difficulty, yet. These fallen angels were cast into hell (2 Pet. 2:4). But where is hell? Hell is under our feet. “The path of life leads upward for the wise, to keep him from going downward to Sheol” (Prov. 15:24). Since hell is the place of the dead, Israel, to flee from the fury of Jehovah, was going to dig until they reached hell, but Jehovah affirms that he would take them from hell (Amos 9:3).The prophet says, “Sheol from beneath has moved for you to meet you at your coming. It stirs up the dead for you, even all the rulers of the earth. It has raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations” (Is. 14:9). The prophet Ezekiel says: “I made the nations to shake at the sound of his fall, when I cast him down to Sheol with those who descend into the pit” (Ezek. 31:16).
Hell is here on the earth, where the fallen angels are captive, tormenting and perverting the humans. Hell is this world, for only in hell there are the crimes and monstrosities that are committed here: The abuse of power, the exploration of the weaker, slavery of men by men, wars, genocides, perversions, prostitutions, child corruption. And does Jehovah rule over this world? “Say among the nations, ‘Jehovah reigns’” (Ps. 96:10). “Who would not fear Thee, O King of the nations? Indeed it is Thy due!” (Jer. 10:7). If Jehovah ruled over the nations before Jesus was born, he ruled over hell. And if he rules today, he rules over hell. And if we read in the New Testament that an angel, or angels, gave the law, and in the Old Testament we read that it was Jehovah, Jehovah is an angel. Whoever worships Jehovah, worships the angels. There is still more. Jesus is the King of kings and the Lord of lords (1 Tim. 6:15). Jesus rules everywhere, except in this world (John 18:36). And why does he not rule here? Because this world is hell, the only place where Jesus does not reign. But Jehovah ruled here, therefore, he ruled over hell (Ps. 47:2-8).
There is more: Jesus said that all men were dead before he came into the world (Matt. 8:21-22). Those who died were dead, and those who buried them were also dead. The place where death reigns in such a way is hell, and Jehovah ruled over the dead; therefore, he ruled over hell. And there is more. The demon-possessed Gadarene had in him two thousand demons (Mark 5:13). If a demon possessed had two thousand demons, the world had billions of them. And Jesus said that the kingdom of God comes only where demons leave (Matt. 12:28). Well, Jehovah ruled over a world infested by demons, and the place where the demons live is hell, therefore Jehovah ruled over hell. The very Jehovah sent the demons (1 Sam. 16:14-15). The salvation of Jesus, the great salvation, consists of delivering men from hell and taking them into the kingdom of the love of God (Col. 1:12-13; Acts 26:18).
by PASTOR OLAVO SILVEIRA PEREIRA