2.1.19 Can Immortal Angels Sin?
Q. This idea that God would use Satan for his own purpose, I think you would recognise that Satan is far more successful...(few words inaudible)...but I think it [is] stretching it to say that an angel rebels against God and God turns it around to uses it positively. In the great majority of cases, that isn't what happens. But just by way of interest, the concept that immortal angels can sin and God can destroy them, would that happen to us, if we had gained immortality?
A. Okay, the question being posed to us is: If angels can sin and die and if we are to be made like angels in the resurrection, is it possible that we can sin and die? Is it hypothetically possible? Sure. Because we would have free will. Will we sin? No. Because the Bible describes the eternal state as being without sin, so we will choose not to sin. God will choose not to destroy us. I believe that God is so powerful that he can do what He wants to. I believe He can destroy us after He gave us immortality if He wanted to but He's not going to, so therefore it's a mute question.
Q. Does the same reasoning apply to immortal angels?
A. Okay the same reasoning applies to the immortal angels? Yes, that's right, it does.
Q. Unless God created an evil angel?
A. Personally, for my own thoughts, I mentioned this earlier, that questions about the origins of the devil and fallen angels and that sort of thing was quite irrelevant. I still think it is, but yes, I do tend to think that the devil was probably a fallen angel although the Bible is not very clear about that at all. We have a question up here?
Q. In your first speech you spoke in the context of Job, I think the phrase you used was Satan approaching God in heaven, how do you reconcile this with the quotation Duncan made from Habakkuk 1: 13 " thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity...?"
A. So how do I reconcile this statement that Satan approached God in heaven with Habakkuk 1:13 that says that God cannot look upon evil? Habakkuk 1:13 is a description of a metaphor. God doesn't tolerate His people to do evil.
Q. He asked my question basically, but I had another thing here. You said that immortal angels could sin.
A. Yes, I said an immortal angel can sin.
Q. When Christ was being tempted and they asked him about this man who had a wife and so on and so forth and whose wife would she be in the kingdom, and he said, " Ye do err, ye shall be as the angels in heaven" . Now if we get to be as angels in heaven, God's going to fix us a little bit different, so we wouldn't sin like...things we talked about sin?
A. I think God is going to give us immortality. I don't think...
Q. We still...we are going to be like the angels...?
A. Yes, we are going...
Q. We will be able to sin?
A. Yes. Theoretically, but we are not going to sin. I...
A. Well, because...Okay, are you telling me that immortality is predicated on our lack of free will?
Q. Absolutely. Because...
A. Okay, then why...
Q. Because sin is death, obedience is life.
A. Well, why did God create us with freewills if His ultimate purpose for us was to turn us into a race of robots? Why didn't He create us like that at the beginning?
Q. Angels have free will...
A. But you just told me that angels don't have freewill.
(Comment from floor: The debate is over...)
Q. It is demonstrated that " he stayed the angel's hand" . The angel was going to do the righteous thing which was to kill, but the mercy of God stayed his hand. Now I don't think that when we get in the Kingdom, if I get in the Kingdom, that I'm going to be able to sin, I'm not going to want to, I'm going to made so I can't.
(Comment from floor: I would submit that now is the time to ask questions to get answers, not to have a debate. Mr. Mattison: Okay, next question?
Q. I would just like to get something clear on your position about angels. The verses cited in Hebrews 1, the angels are all ministering spirits, your explanation was...all not being all.
A. My explanation of Hebrews 1: 14is that there is a figure of speech here known as synecdoche, in which the whole is used for the part.
Q. What was your explanation of Psalm 103 where it speaks of angels obeying God?
A. Okay, I can give you a couple of explanations. On the one hand, even the evil angels ultimately against their own will obey God in a sense.
Q. In connection with being like the angels to die no more...
A. Okay, back to that again.
Q. There was Luke 20: 36: " We shall be made like unto the angels to die no more" ... You are saying does not mean what it says?
A. I'm saying that verse needs to be balanced with other verses, so we can get an understanding of what Christ was talking about. Jesus was meaning there that the angels are not going to die from old age or injury like we are going to die.
Q. What is the verse that says they are going to die?
A. There are references for example in Matthew 25: 41 which describes the devil and his angels being cast into the lake of fire. There are other verses involved in this. We could debate this from here to kingdom come and probably would if but we don't have the time for it. 2 Peter 2: 4 and also in the Epistle of Jude, which also talks about the future destruction of fallen angels.
Q. Are you aware that the word 'angels' does not always refer to the angels of heaven, but sometimes to messengers?
A. Yes, I am aware that the Greek word 'angele' can refer to human messengers. Yes, I am aware of that. Yes?
Q. You referred to Zechariah 3 - Satan standing at the right hand of the angel of the Lord to resist him - What is your explanation of what that applies to in the context of Zechariah?
A. I haven't studied it very in depth.
Q. But surely one must see it in the context of the history of Israel at that time? The great adversary of the work being done at this particular time were the Arabs who were opposing the rebuilding the city of Jerusalem. This is brought out by the context - v.3: Even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem - the emphasis is upon the city and on the opponent, the adversary, or Satan, who is opposing the work being done by the returned exiles.
A. Okay we are talking about Zech. 3: 1, 2 and the suggestion is being made that the Satan here - 'ha satan' - are Arabs. Okay, well, we have a number of figures here, we have Joshua, he is a person is he not? We have the angel of the Lord, he is a person, is he not, and now we have 'ha satan' the enemy, the adversary. Why wouldn't he be a person?
Q. He was, being Sanballat, Tobiah and Rehum and these other opponents.
A. Oh, but those were several people.
Q. They were men who mocked the Jews and said they were going to write to the King and get that work stopped and they did write.
A. Right, now those were several people, not a single person, single adversary.
Q. That is true, but collectively they were a force that was opposing Israel. They were the adversary, they were the Satan.
A. Yes, they were.
Q. They were the adversary, they were the Satan, the Satan.
A. I can definitely see the possibility that the Satan was working through human adversaries as he often does.
Q. 2 Corinthians 11:14, what's your understanding where it says Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light?
A. I don't know that 'transformed' is the best word there in 2 Cor. 11: 14. The New International Version reads " masquerades as an angel of light" . Now I would have to pick up a Greek Testament and Lexicon to go into that and check it out. My version says he masquerades as an angel of light, he pretends to be an angel of light. I don't know if the devil is transformed from an angel of evil to an angel of light and back and forth again. I do like the idea of masquerading as this version presents it.