Christian Churches of God
The Government of God
(Edition 2.0 19960824-19990610))
God’s direction for government is also the most abused of the biblical concepts. It is determined by men within concepts that are attributed to Scripture but generally are based on the principles of the Gentile systems of this world. Most of modern-day Christianity do not understand that there are multiple sons of God and that Satan was a son of God among them in the Council. Dispute over the structure of government was the original problem within the heavenly Host and was the cause of the rebellion involving Satan and a third of the Host. The structure of God’s government is examined in this paper.
The Government of God
The topic of government is probably the most important topic in the Bible. It centres on the first or great commandment (Deut. 6:5; 10:12; 30:6; Mat. 22:38) which is an expression of the first four of the ten commandments. The second commandment was like unto it: Thou shall love thy neighbour as thy self (Lev. 19:18; Mat. 22:39). The second great commandment was a distillation of the last six commandments of the decalogue. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets (Mat. 22:40). Thus, all the law and the prophets are extensions or extrapolations of the primary structure contained within the central law of the two commandments and the decalogue.
Worship of the one True God, of necessity, is predicated on obedience to His will and thus action within His direction which is logically an expression of His will. The will of God does not extend from whim. God’s law-order is necessarily derived from His nature (see the paper Distinction in the Law (No. 96) and below).
God’s direction for government is also the most abused of the biblical concepts. It is determined by men within concepts that are attributed to Scripture but generally are based on the principles of the Gentile systems of this world.
Dispute over the structure of government was the original problem within the heavenly Host and was the cause of the rebellion. Indeed, the rebellion was a dispute between Satan and a third of the Host that tried to overthrow God and those loyal to God and seize the throne and the power associated with it (Isa. 14:12-15).
Isaiah 14:12-15 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. 15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. (KJV)
This view is also found in Ezekiel 28:12-19.
Ezekiel 28:12-19 Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. 13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. 14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. 15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. 16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. 17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. 18 Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. 19 All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more. (KJV)
The obscuring of these two texts is evident in many translations. The world religions, in general, do not understand these texts in terms of a heavenly battle between God and His anointed Covering Cherub, the Morning Star of this planet. This centralises the dispute and indicates the problem. Satan wanted to grasp power, without love. God wants to share power, in love. This sharing of power is promised by Messiah in Revelation 3:21. The rebellion resulted in a war in the heavens that is still in the process of resolution. Satan took a third of the sons of God or stars of the Host with him in the rebellion. These stars were cast to the earth and confined to it after a process of time (Rev. 12:4,13).
Revelation 12:1-17 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: 2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. 3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. 4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. 5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. 6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days. 7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. 10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. 12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. 13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. 14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. 15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. 16 And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. 17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. (KJV)
Note in this text there is a war fought between the loyal Host under Michael and the rebel Host under Satan. Satan here is termed the accuser of the brethren. The woman here is, firstly, Israel and, secondly, the Church and the child is Messiah. The elect or saints are those who keep the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. The war is fought over the system of ordering the universe. The apostles did not understand, before their conversion, that the world’s system was not to be their system (Lk. 22:24-26). From the text in Revelation we can understand that there was a system of government in the heavens and that system was centred on God Most High. The rebellion of Satan and the rebel Host involved a third of the sons of God. Satan tried to overthrow God and make himself as the Most High. The understanding of the rebellion among the ancient Hebrews is well documented and books such as the Book of Enoch (e.g. The Ethiopic Book of Enoch, M. A. Knibb, Oxford Clarendon, 1982 reprint, Vols. 1 and 2) which has been updated from the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) show in detail the understanding of the involvement of the sons of God from the biblical texts and what was understood to be the circumstances of the rebellion.
Most of modern day Christianity, whether Binitarian or Trinitarian, do not understand that there are multiple sons of God. They ignore Job 1:6 and 2:1 which show that there were multiple sons of God and that Satan was a son of God among them in the Council (Job 38:4-7). Verse 7 shows that there are multiple Morning Stars which is the rank that Satan held (i.e. Lightbearer or Lucifer son of the morning (Isa. 14:12; 15; Ezek. 28:14-19) and Christ has inherited that rank (2Pet. 1:19; Rev. 2:28; 22:16). These Morning Stars are sons of God and the term star is used interchangeably (Rev. 1:20; 6:13; 8:10,12; 9:1; 12:1,4). One of these stars was prophesied to come out of Jacob (Num. 24:17). This star was Messiah.
We can deduce much from the biblical texts in relation to the way the government was set up from the beginning under the heavenly tabernacle. We are able to do this in relatively significant detail because the earthly tabernacle or temple was set up as a copy of the heavenly system (Heb. 8:5). The structure of God’s government is to be examined in a sequence.
Part 1. God and His Government in the Family of God
1. The Significance of the Nature of God to the System of Government
The place of the nature of God in the determination of the structure of government both of the Church and of the nations is of paramount importance. The nature of God determines the law-order and that then is the system under which worship is determined.
2. The Sons of God
We shall firstly isolate what God established from the beginning. We can deduce much from this about His nature and the way He wishes the Host to be governed or govern itself (cf. the papers The Significance of the Term Son of God (No. 211) and The Pre-Existence of Jesus Christ (No. 243)).
Part 2. The Purpose of the Creation
We can proceed to the creation and establish its purpose and the way in which God allowed the Host to operate within or over the creation. This purpose is examined in the paper The Purpose of the Creation and the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ (No. 160).
Part 3. The Order of the Physical Creation
We can tell from the Pentateuch and the law what system God ordained for the human structure. We can see how God intervened and tell what changes if any were effected to His law-order. This structure is to be identified under the sub-groupings regarding:
3. The Noahite legislation and priesthood
4. The post-flood rebellion and the establishment of the world or Babylonian system
5. The family system of the Patriarchs
6. The Exodus and the giving of the law.
Part 4. Israel Under the Judges
Israel under the Judges is a distinctive period in the application of the laws of Israel and the government of the nation. There is much to be learnt in this period concerning how God the Father, or Eloah, applied His laws under the elohim of Israel. The operation of the Holy Spirit in this period under direction of the Angel of Yahovah is important. This has been examined in the first paper Samson and the Judges (No. 73). Subsequent papers will deal with the Judges and their rule up to Samuel.
Part 5. Israel under the kingship
1. The first paper in this series was David and Goliath (No. 126).
The alterations to God’s government under the kingship are of particular reference to the establishment of the Kingdom under Messiah.
2. The fall of the kings
3. Restorations under the kingship
The restorations have specific reference to The Seven Great Passovers of the Bible (No. 107).
Part 6. Israel under the Priesthood
This section deals with the process of rule in Israel prior to Messiah and its judgment by Messiah.
Part 7. The Church
The spiritual structure that was the Church is identified and the system under which it is to be governed is examined. It is divided into three sections.
1. The Patriarchs and Prophets
2. The Apostolic Church
This section will deal with:
a. The directions given by Christ for the government of the Church; and
b. the implementation of those instructions within The Apostolic Church.
Examined also will be:
c. The Fall of Jerusalem; and
d. The Synagogue system and the formation of the Church
3. The Church in the Dispersion
The Church in the Dispersion has been examined under the previous papers:
Further papers will deal with:
d. Application of the World systems to Church Government;
e. The Beast and the Image of the Beast;
f. Optimum Current Organisation for
discharging our responsibilities in the
last days; and
g. Operation under Persecution.
This phase will end with the Advent of Messiah.
Part 8. The Advent and the millennial structure
These series of papers deal with the end time prophecies. There is of necessity some overlap in these papers. Papers issued or to be issued on these matters involve:
1. The Millennium in Prophecy;
2. Interpretations of Millennial Prophecy;
3. Trumpets, including:
b. The Marriage Supper of the Lamb;
5. The Seven Seals (No. 140) including
6. The Wars of the End;
7. The Millennial Government of God
a. The 144,000;
b. The Great Multitude;
c. The Restoration of Israel;
d. Ruling the Nations; and
e. Crime and Punishment
8. The Last Great Day;
9. The New Celestial System.
God and His Government in the Family of God
The Significance of the Nature of God to the system of Government
The doctrine of the nature of God is pivotal to the determination of the structure of government both of the church and of the nations and its law-order system.
Discussion on the nature of God is related essentially to the revelation of God in creation and the law-order system that is revealed through His servants the prophets. The fundamental principles are that:
1. God has revealed Himself in the creation in truth to be known by humanity (Rom. 1:18-21). There is to be no withholding of truth in unrighteousness. What can be known of God is made known by God. He makes known His nature, power and deity which are plain from the creation and from His revelation.
2. No man has ever seen God or heard His voice (Jn. 1:18; 1Tim. 6:16).
3. He has chosen to deal with mankind in a specific way through His servants the prophets (Neh. 9:30; Jer. 7:25-26; 29:19).
4. These servants have given us a record of His direction to humanity which is inspired in them and given as Scripture (Job 32:8; 2Tim. 3:16; 2Pet. 3:2; Rev. 10:7).
5. That direction entails a law-order that is consistent and coherent applying to all nations (Rom. 16:26).
6. Those who purport to act for Him must speak in accordance with that law-order and the testimony of the other prophets (Isa. 8:20).
7. These prophets are an example of faith and patient long-suffering (Acts 7:52; Jas. 5:10).
8. This law-order is constant and was reinforced by Jesus Christ in his ministry (Mat. 5:17-19).
9. God alone is immortal (1Tim. 6:16) (see the paper On Immortality (No. 165)).
10. Eternal life is given to mankind through the knowledge of the one true God and His son Jesus Christ (Jn. 17:3; 1Jn. 5:20).
We establish from these facts through Scripture that a knowledge of God is essential to salvation and that this knowledge is derived from the creation and from Scripture. The Godhead is thus not a mystery and, indeed, the knowledge of God and the Son whom He sent is a requirement for membership of the elect and the receipt of eternal life. This theological knowledge is derived from God’s direct revelation in Scripture and in the creation. This first element is the direct revelation of God to mankind and it is through the testimony of Jesus Christ and the baptism of the Holy Spirit that mankind is made to partake of the divine nature as Christ partook of that nature (2Pet. 1:4) becoming, as he did, a son of God in power through the Holy Spirit by his resurrection from the dead (Rom. 1:4,6; 8:15,23; 9:4; Gal. 4:5; Eph. 1:5). We are thus co-heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17; Gal. 3:29; Titus 3:7; Heb. 1:14; 6:17; 11:9; Jas. 2:5; 1Pet. 3:7).
We are given a knowledge of God and are stewards of the mysteries of God (Mat. 13:11; Lk. 8:10; 1Cor. 4:1) and, thus, we are able to give an account of the hope that lies within us (1Pet. 3:15). Therefore, any who declare God an unknowable mystery are not of the elect.
The law-system or economy of Salvation
The second element of the faith is the knowledge of God’s will. The law-order of God is termed the economy of salvation (oikonomia). This term is derived from the words oikos nomos which is the law of management of a household. This law of management of the household of God is the law delivered by angels in the hands of a mediator (Acts 7:53; Gal. 3:19).
This law-order of itself could not provide salvation but rather by faith in the sacrifice of Christ was redemption and salvation given through grace (Rom. 4:11-24) because we believe that God raised Christ from the dead for our justification (Rom. 4:24-25).
There is, however, only one law-order and one true God. The Law of God proceeds from the nature of God and is constant being a product of His nature and not of His whim (see the paper Distinction in the Law (No. 96)).
His law is:
It follows therefore that the religious differences between Trinitarianism reflect both a different God and a different system of law-order. The God of Trinitarianism is a Triune God (see Catherine Mowry LaCugna GOD FOR US: The Trinity and Christian Life, Harper, San Francisco, 1991). LaCugna agrees that statements about the nature of God must be rooted in salvation history (p. 4). The definition and understanding of this salvation is the problem in dispute. For example, Genesis 48:15-16 shows that the Angel of Redemption is the Elohim of Israel. Yet such a clear biblical
statement is denied by Trinitarianism.
The reason is simple. The law-order of the Trinitarian system is not a biblical law-order but is based on the laws of the nations and the Roman beast of which the Trinitarian church is an image. The nations or Gentiles established a system which finds expression from the Babylonians and proceeds by succession as determined from prophecy. The law-order system of the Gentiles ran through the Babylonian system to the Medo-Persian, the Greek and Hellenistic Divisions and then to the Roman system (see Dan. 2:31-45; 4:18-37; 7:2-27). This is termed the Time of the Gentiles (see the paper The Fall of Egypt (No. 36)).
The Bible tells us that God had destroyed the planet through the flood and re-populated it in Noah and his descendants because of the evil of the pre-flood system. After the flood, another system was set up from Babylon under Nimrod and this religious system spread throughout the earth (Gen. 10:8-11; 11:1-9). The law system that was established under the nations was different to that established under Noah, from Shem through the priesthood of Melchisedek, and then the children of Abraham through Moses and the Patriarchs. Christ tells us that the system of the Gentiles was not to be the system of the Church and the Kingdom of God (Mat. 20:25-28; 23:11).
The Roman system was faced with establishing a control over a religious structure which was spreading rapidly throughout the Roman Empire. The biblical system taught a different God to the Greco-Roman system, the Mystery cults, and to the system of the Hyperborean Celts. More particularly, it taught a different system of law-order. This difference in the system of law-order was resisted by the entire Greco-Roman system of rule that had been established in accordance with the will of the god of this world, the prince of the power of the air (2Cor. 4:4; Eph. 2:2) under the prophecies given in Daniel (as above).
The Greco-Romans were faced with the problem of using the power of the Christian faith without the attendant law-order systems and the clear identification of the one true God. This theological war developed into the councils of Nicea in 325 to Chalcedon in 450-1. The development of that system into the Triune Godhead was also a feature of the other Gentile systems (i.e. in the Celts it was as Taranis, Teutates and Esus).
The Teutons and especially the Anglo-Saxons, the Lombards and the Burgundians were adherents to a form of Christianity which was Unitarian, emphatically denying the Trinity. The Lombards are considered a related tribe to the Anglo-Saxons (see also Historian’s History of the World, Vol. 7, pp. 115-116, 426-456, Vol. 9, pp. 2,17-18,23 and other texts and sub notes). How the Lombards became what is now termed Arian is unknown to history (H. Hist., Vol. 7, p. 115). The Germanic tribes were known classically as Scythians (H. Hist., Vol. 4, p. 611). The Scythians, and hence these Germanic tribes, formed part of the grouping classed as Parthian. They came from Persia and central Asia. The Goths and the Vandals, part of this group, destroyed Greece and Olympus (they were iconoclasts). These tribes moved west into Europe. The Heruli were perhaps the most unstable of them. They were Unitarians from their influence outside of the empire. The Lombards entered Italy with their own system of elders or bishops, priests and deacons (H. Hist., Vol. 7, p. 115, fn. 4). This presented a structure different from, and rival to, the Roman clerical system.
They came into conflict with the Roman system, as they had the Greek. This dispute was to occupy some centuries and the Romans ultimately triumphed using the martial supremacy of the Franks to subdue the Arians. These are termed the Arian Wars and will be examined separately. The Roman system plunged Europe into the Dark Ages rather than accept this other system of law-order.
The Greco-Romans were faced with a problem of removing this law-order system of the God of the Hebrews from the Christian system which had entered the Hellenised world. To undermine this law, the Messiah had to be elevated to a level equal with the God Most High of the Old Testament Scriptures. This could only be done through what is now known as Binitarianism. Christ was made into a co-eternal and co-equal God. The philosophical absurdity that resulted from this theological error resulted in the disputes of the fourth century up until Constantinople in 381. The doctrines of Paul were manipulated to destroy the Unitarian groups extant near the Greeks which had even before Christ been Unitarian (i.e. the Hypsistarians). The Binitarians themselves then had to give way to the final grouping under the Athanasian faction. These groups appropriated to themselves the term catholic. They split into three main branches: i.e. Orthodox, Roman and Anglican.
The Greco-Romans declared from Nicea the doctrine of the homoousios with God. They invented the fiction that if Christ were a subordinate God, then salvation through Christ was jeopardised. This problem was an invention based on Greek philosophy which held that only like can atone for or equal or love like. Agape is a Hebrew concept based on ahabah from the Song of Songs.
The effect of this fiction was to shift the attention away from the patent subordination in the Scriptures regarding the economy or law of God to an intradivine level (see also LaCugna, ibid., p. 8). The effect here was to close the Godhead and elevate Christ above the Host and the elect. Thus, the destiny of the elect to become elohim, as was the Angel of Yahovah at the head of the Household of the King as we see from Zechariah 12:8, was disguised and effectively denied. This closed view of the Godhead became so entrenched that it came to be regarded impious to declare Christ subordinate in mainstream circles when the Bible clearly proclaims it.
Trinitarians were faced with one problem after another, all based on philosophy. Axiom: God cannot suffer. If God cannot suffer then how could he suffer in the person of Christ? This is extended in the axiom God cannot die. If He cannot die, how can He die in the person of Christ? The Bible is clear. The lesser atones for the superior. He who serves, atones by self sacrifice. The atonement of blood is sufficient (see the paper The Purpose of the Creation and the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ (No. 160)). Trinitarians got around this problem by saying that Christ suffered in his humanity but not in his divinity (LaCugna, ibid.). This resulted in the identification of Trinitarianism with the doctrine of Antichrist, which it is, and thus the definition in 1John 4:1-2 was altered from the original. We can reconstruct the original from Irenaeus, Ch. 16:8 (ANF, Vol. 1, fn. p. 443).
Hereby know ye the spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth Jesus Christ came in the flesh is of God; and every spirit which separates Jesus Christ is not of God but is of Antichrist.
Socrates the Historian says (VII, 32, p. 381) that the passage had been corrupted by those who wished to separate the humanity of Jesus Christ from his divinity.
Gregory of Nazianzus developed the idea that:
… the divine Monarchy was not the sole possession of ‘God the Father’ but is shared equally among the divine persons. [This idea] contained the seeds of a vastly different conception of the social order (LaCugna, p. 17 emphasis added). [LaCugna notes that] the theological defeat of the doctrine of the Trinity by the preoccupation with the structure of God’s inner life meant also its political defeat (ibid.).
She then says (ibid.) in an extraordinary mixture of Roman and Feminist propaganda:
A unitarian, patriarchal, monarchical, hierarchical theism gradually replaced a trinitarian montheism with disastrous political results. Christian theologians justified every kind of hierarchy, exclusion and pattern of domination, whether religious, sexual, political, clerical, racial, as ‘natural’ and divinely intended.
The reasons the doctrine of the Trinity became marginal are both theological and political. The triumph of the doctrine of the Trinity consists not only in its restoration to a central place in Christian theology but also its reintegration as a critical theological principle that stands over and against every nontrinitarian idea of governance.
This is historical fabrication and blatant propaganda. The Church was absolutely Unitarian for centuries during its most pure phase. It resisted persecution for centuries and absolutely denied hierarchies as the doctrine of the Nicolaitans. The Trinitarian structure was enforced from Constantinople (381) so that a monarchical (i.e. empire) system could be maintained under the Roman curial hierarchy. This church and this system has enslaved and killed millions of the Christian faith in the name of Jesus Christ in order to maintain its hierarchical system.
Although there is no doctrine of the Trinity in the New Testament, there is a definite binitarian or trinitarian pattern to salvation history (ibid., p. 22)
This follows from the position that claims that the doctrine of the Trinity:
… drastically transforms the political and social forms of life appropriate to God’s economy (ibid., p. 16)
The path of the development of the structure develops from, and is rooted in, pagan theology and government. That is why the government of the world including the New World Order is doomed to failure and has to be torn down and the millennial structure of Christ implemented in accordance with the laws of God. The current world structure is counter to God’s law-order in its most basic forms. This is the result of centuries of subtle and erroneous theology under the orthodox system. No other system has inflicted so much misery on humanity in the name of God.
The Trinitarian structure developed over the centuries. Theology was separated from the soteriology or the plan of salvation as revealed in the incarnation of Jesus Christ. LaCugna holds that this trajectory led to the:
… via negativa of Pseudo-Dionysius and, finally, to the theology of Gregory of Palamas (Chapter 6).
In the Latin West, in the period immediately following Nicaea, theologians such as Hilary of Poitiers and, perhaps to an extreme degree, Marcellus of Ancyra, retained the connection between the divine hypostases and the economy of salvation. Augustine inaugurated an entirely new approach. His starting point was no longer the monarchy of the Father but the divine substance shared equally by the three persons [emphasis added]. Instead of inquiring into the nature of theologia as it is revealed in the Incarnation of Christ and deification by the Spirit [emphasis added], Augustine would inquire into the traces of the Trinity to be found in the soul of each human being. Augustine's pursuit of a 'psychological' analogy for the intratrinitarian relations would mean that trinitarian doctrine thereafter would be concerned with the relations 'internal' to the Godhead, disjoined from what we know of God through Christ in the Spirit (LaCugna, p. 44).
The Medieval Latin theology followed Augustine and the separation of theology from economy or soteriology. The entire structure became embroiled in neo‑Platonism and Mysticism.
The important notations of LaCugna are that from Augustine the Monarchy of the Father was no longer paramount. The Trinity assumed co-equality. This was the second step following on from the false assertion of co-eternality. The correct premise was the concept of the manifestation of the Godhead in each individual, namely the operation of the Father by means of the Holy Spirit which emanated from Him through Jesus Christ. This direction through Jesus Christ enabled Christ to monitor and direct the individual in accordance with the will of God who lived in each of the elect.
Christ was not the origin of the Holy Spirit. He was its intermediary monitor. He acted for God as he had always acted for and in accordance with the will of God. But he was not the God. The Trinitarians lost sight of this fact, if indeed they ever really understood the matter. As LaCugna says the:
Theology of the triune God appeared to be added on to consideration of the one God (p. 44).
This affected, fundamentally, the way Christians prayed. That is, they no longer prayed to the Father alone (Mat. 6:6,9) in the name of the Son as the Bible directs (from Lk. 11:12), worshipping the Father (Jn. 4:23), but to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Further, the scholars developed a metaphysics of theology itself. But the entire edifice was built in disregard or manipulation of the Bible. That is why Trinitarians never address all Bible texts on a subject and mistranslate and misquote other key texts ignoring the ones they cannot alter. But their system is based on Mysticism and Platonism. LaCugna states that:
The Cappadocians (and also Augustine) went considerably beyond the scriptural understanding of economy by locating God's relationship to the Son (and the Spirit) at the 'intradivine' level (p. 54).
The One God existed as ousia in three distinct hypostases. We have seen (see the paper The Elect as Elohim (No. 1)) that the Platonic term ousia and the Stoic term hypostases mean essentially the same thing. Essentially this was an argument directed at shifting the locus of authority from God and His law-order as revealed in Scripture to Jesus Christ as equal to God. To defend the Triune system against the charge of polytheism, the Trinity had to fuse the three elements into the one God. This was a modification of the original doctrine of Modalism, prevalent in Rome but which was rejected by Christianity as a whole. The doctrines of the Monarchia and the Circumincession were then invented to explain this incoherence.
The determination of the God that is worshipped affects all considerations and all matters of organisation and government within the law-order of the system used. The Bible produced a biblical system of law-order based on the law of the One True God.
The Greco-Roman political order sought to protect its system of law-order derived from pagan sources, and hence, had to syncretise the Christian faith back to the worship of the god of the Gentile system which was understood from a Triune basis in its variant forms. LaCugna realises this when she says that:
The Cappadocians were highly competent speculative theologians. They brilliantly synthesized elements of neo-Platonism, Stoicism, mysticism, and biblical revelation to counter Arianism and neo-Arianism (ibid., p. 10).
The Godhead determines everything, even to notions of crime and punishment. To change the system, the Greco-Romans had to change the Godhead. They then had to defend it by force of arms.
The change was affected by Binitarianism which is the primary step in the heresy. It is philosophically untenable and its adherents then are forced into Trinitarianism.
The real basis of Binitarianism is a limitation of the Godhead to two beings as two true Gods. That which is eternal and immortal is a true God. Binitarianism was extant in Christianity officially from the Council of Nicea in 325. As well as being philosophically incoherent it is biblically unsound. Binitarianism could not exist alone and so Trinitarianism had to be developed to answer the absurdity of two co-eternal and co-equal Gods.
This incoherent Binitarian reasoning was again introduced in the twentieth century.
Originally, there existed only these two Spirit Personages, self existent.... Only these two, equal in mind and powers, except that God was supreme in authority. They were of one mind, in absolute agreement.... In the eternity prior to “prehistory” there were these two Supreme Beings. Alone! In the emptiness of space! No other life forms - no other living beings! Nothing else!” (Herbert W. Armstrong, The Incredible Human Potential, Ambassador College Press, 1978, pp. 36-37; see also Armstrong, Mystery of the Ages, pp. 44-45)
The logic of this position is bizarre ditheism. It is clearly not Scriptural and denies the testimony of Christ regarding his limited knowledge and power and dependence on the Father.
It must be remembered that the doctrines of the factions at Nicea were wrong and they themselves, including the Athanasians (now Catholics), were unsure of what exactly the position was. As late as 380 Gregory of Nazianzen (or Nazianzus), one of the Cappadocians who advocated and developed the Trinity, made the remarkable statement:
Of the wise among us, some consider the Holy Spirit an influence, others a creature, others God [H]imself (oi de theon) and again others know not which way to decide, from reverence, as they say, for the Holy Scripture, which declares nothing exact in the case. For this reason they waver between worshipping and not worshipping the Holy Spirit, and strike a middle course which is in fact, however, a bad one (see also Schaff, fnn. 5,6, p. 664). Basil in 370, still carefully avoided calling the Holy [Spirit] God, though with the view of gaining the weak. Hilary of Poietiers (sic) believed that the Spirit, who searches the deep things of God, must be divine, but could find no Scripture passage in which he is called God, and thought that he must be content with the existence of the Holy [Spirit] which the Scripture teaches and the heart attests (De Trinitate, ii, 29; and xii, 55; cf., Schaff, ibid.).
Schaff continues in this matter as follows.
But the church could not possibly satisfy itself with only two in one. The baptismal formula and the apostolic benediction, as the traditional trinitarian doxologies, put the Holy Ghost on an equality with the Father and the Son, and require a divine tri-personality resting upon a unity of essence. The divine triad tolerates in itself no inequality of essence, no mixture of Creator and creature. Athanasius well perceived this, and advocated with decision the consubstantiality of the Holy Spirit against the Pneumatomachi or Tropici (as the Macedonians were also called).
The real problem was that the doctrine had not been established. This view of Athanasius was adopted also by Basil, Gregory of Nazianzus, Gregory of Nyssa, Didymus and Ambrose (Schaff, ibid.). This doctrine was established from the Council of Alexandria in 362, in Rome in 375 and finally in Constantinople in 381. The doctrine was used to formulate a system of government which was of empire and transnational. World domination is the ultimate aim of this system. This is so because the struggle is for total domination between two spiritual structures.
The Unitarian position was nationally based, and the European system under the Roman beast wanted to create a system in the empire which was able to use Christianity. Binitarianism was philosophically incoherent and scripturally unsound. Unitarianism taught national judgment based upon the judgment of God according to the Blessings and the Curses under the law of God. Rome was a pagan system, with a pagan system of law, and the Triune God was the basis of the European religious structure. This conflict of law-order began the Arian Wars, even before it entered Europe, between the Greeks and what was termed the Scythians. Unitarianism, or Arianism as it was incorrectly called (assuming Catholic definitions are incorrect), was opposed to Satan’s system of law-order. The image to the Roman beast (Dan. 2:33,40-43; 8:21-27) had to be formed as foretold by Revelation 13:14-15. The very basis of western society is based on this pagan law-order. That is why it cannot survive.
The nature of God determines the nature of government. For this reason, hierarchical systems defend through persecution the limited Godhead within a ditheist or Triune system. The Churches in the twentieth century are no different.
Foakes-Jackson understands the inherent political nature of the struggle between the Teutonic and the Roman concepts of God. Neither were in fact correctly based. He says:
We are convinced that the Arianism of the Visigoths, Lombards, Vandals, etc. was no more than a phase in the ecclessiastical struggle between the Teutonic and the Roman conception of Christianity. The barbarians desired to have their own national Church, and when they found a form of Christianity which kept them separate from the despised provincial and independent of the clergy of the Empire, they held to it with the proud firmness of a conquering race. Their natural reverence for Roman civilization made them as a rule nobly tolerant of the religion it sanctioned; and when they are said to have been persecutors the motive must have been mainly political.
The inherent weakness of the barbarian occupants of the Roman territory was their incapacity for organisation, while the strength of the Romans in both their civil and the ecclesiastical polity lay in a system tested by the experience of centuries. The Arians were as little able to maintain themselves as the short-lived Teutonic kingdoms, and their clergy had ultimately to surrender at discretion to the better disciplined church of the Roman provincials. The destruction of Arianism as a rival system is one of the most important factors in the genesis of modern European civilization; for had the barbarian conquerors professed one form of Christianity and the weaker race another, no progress would have been possible. Oppressive as the unregulated feudalism of the dark ages was, it would have been intolerable if the conquerors had not the claim of a common Christianity to encourage consideration for their vanquished subjects (F.J. Foakes-Jackson, article ‘Arianism’, ERE, Vol. I, p. 783).
This sort of double talk is classic of Trinitarian self-justification. In order to defend the Roman system against the Unitarian (so-called Arian) system, the Roman clergy used the power of the Franks to wage war on the rest of Europe, state by state, until they had subjugated the rival and more tolerant Arian systems while they were still in a state of flux. The Roman Church plunged Europe into the Dark Ages so that it could wrest total power and enshrine the Roman system, making the image to the beast. This system was to last from 590 to 1850 or 1,260 years (see the papers General Distribution of the Sabbath-keeping Churches (No. 122) and The Role of the Fourth Commandment in the Historical Sabbath-keeping Churches (No. 170)).
It should be evident that the nature of God is central to the system of government that the nation or group adopts. Satan was given a period of six thousand years in which to develop a system that governed the earth with justice in accordance with the nature of God. Instead, he chose to adopt a system that runs counter to the nature of God in accordance with a Godhead that represents his nature and rebellious ideology. The Triune system is his symbol and is placed in situ against or counter to the laws of God. However, Satan and the demons operate within the limitations God has imposed on them. In a short period Satan’s rule will be over. We were called out of the world and the worship of the god of this world to an understanding of the One True God and His law-order. That is why we are in conflict with the world systems and are persecuted.
God and His Government in the Family of God
The Sons of God
There were sons of God before the creation of the earth (Job 38:4-7). These sons of God were organised into a structure under Morning Stars or Light-bearers. In other words, each of the leaders of the Host had an instructive and shepherding function. This was to extend to the interrelationship of the Host and humanity.
The temptation, when reading the Bible, is to impose our own concepts onto the structure outlined and to make assumptions regarding the beings identified within the limitations imposed by the conditioning we receive under the world’s view as directed by the god of this world. The apostles did this before their conversion when they began squabbling over who was to be the greatest in the Kingdom. Christ rebuked them and said that it was not to be so with them. The beings of the Kingdom of God are as those who serve (Lk. 22:24-26; see also Mk. 10:42).
Luke 22:24-26 A dispute also arose among them, which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. 25 And he said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors. 26 But not so with you; rather let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. (RSV)
It is within this framework that we must view the organisation of the heavenly Host as constructed from the biblical narrative. The roles and functions of the individuals are to be understood within this framework. The disputes that arose are thus understood from the desires and conflicts that arise as a result of these spiritual limitations. It follows, therefore, that the placement of elohim within councils and as leaders or emissaries does not entail hierarchical function. This is the primary error made in the understanding of the government of God. Moreover, this misunderstanding extends to the process of creation and the sharing of the powers of God, from the creation, with the Host. The Trinity, and its incoherent predecessor Binitarianism, strikes at the very heart of the nature of God and the capacity exhibited by God to share His power with His children who are all a product of His activity and power.
Time, Metaphysics and the Creation
The question of the beginning is relevant to the nature of God. The biblical position is that only God is immortal (1Tim. 6:16). Binitarians attempt to evade the issue of the doctrine of immortality by denying the metaphysics of the concept of time. Time is of necessity a relation between existents. Thus, there must be a point at which time began if there is one true God (Jn. 17:3). To argue that time is eternal can only come from a situation in which two or more objects stand in relativity to each other, eternally. Time, space, mass, energy are equivalent expressions of a single fundamental essence. We refer to this as spirit. God is spirit.
John 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (KJV)
The problem might be put that since God is spirit and since time, space, mass, energy etc., are equivalent expressions of single fundamental essence then time necessarily existed when spirit existed. As God is eternal, then so time is eternal. This argument is not scriptural (see below). This argument begs the question: What then of the multiplicity of the Spirits of God? The seven angels are the seven spirits of God. They therefore must also have always existed.
The early church, however, considered that they were the primary creation of God. The Holy Spirit and the six other messengers were the spirits that were the first of creation (Shepherd of Hermas, Bk. 1, Ch. iv, ANF, Vol. II, p. 14).
There is thus a point at which the spirit became relative and not simply instantiated in the divine essence as an attribute of God. God existed in His abiding perpetuity. He alone was immortal (1Tim. 6:16). God is King of the ages (1Tim. 1:17; cf. the Greek text of Tobit 13:6,10) and God of the ages (theos tõn aiõniõn, cf. Ecclus. 36:17; Isa. 9:6; Jer. 10:10). The creation activity of God began the relativity of the Spirit and hence time. God extended the capacity to be immortal to the children of God from their creation. With the creation of the free moving or independent spirit, as intelligence interacting with God, time began.
God alone was possessed of omniscience as an attribute. Known to God from eternity are all His works. The rebellion was foreknown and, hence, the Lamb of God was foreknown before the creation of the physical universe (1Pet. 1:18-20; see various translations for understanding) being delivered for crucifixion by the counsel and foreknowledge of God (Acts 2:22-23).
The statement is also important, following on from this omniscience that grace was given before the beginning of time (2Tim. 1:9; eternal times: chronõn aiõniõn, see The Interlinear Bible; wrongly rendered before the world began, KJV). Thus grace is a product of the omniscience, or unlimited understanding, of the Father (Ps. 147:5) before time began. Eternal life is also a product of this omniscience before time began (Tit. 1:2). God declares the end from the beginning, being the only wise God (1Tim. 1:17). This predestination in no way hampers the free will of the creation either spiritual or physical.
Thus the creation is the product of the Father who has a series of attributes which He shares by allocation with the sons of God. God the Father alone is:
1. Self-existent and therefore immortal (Jn. 5:26; 1Tim. 6:16)
2. Omniscient (Isa. 46:10; Ps. 147:5; Mat. 24:36; 1Tim. 1:17);
3. Omnipotent (Mk. 14:36; Lk. 1:37);
4. Immutable (Jas. 1:17; Mal. 3:6);
5. The one true God and the source of eternal life (Jn. 17:3; 1Jn. 5:20);
6. He dwells in unapproachable light and no man has seen Him or ever can see Him (Jn. 1:18; 1Tim. 6:16) being spirit (Jn. 4:24);
7. He is the creator of all things, through Christ. By God’s will all things exist, being created at, and for, His pleasure (Ps. 134:3; Col. 1:15; Heb. 1:2; Rev. 4:11). He is the source of life (Ps. 36:9; Jn. 5:26).
The Binitarian position is that both God and Christ have eternally existed; therefore, there is no beginning of time. Time is held to be endlessly eternal. This position is clearly contrary to Scripture in that it holds the existence of two true Gods, and John says there is only one true God and that Christ was sent by Him (Jn. 17:3; 1Jn. 5:20). Trinitarians are aware of the incoherence of this argument, being the position from which they sprang. Trinitarians seek to assert that the one true God is comprised of three persons who, together, form the one true God. Thus, they can assert, time is eternal being a relation between these intradivine persons. The relative positions of Father, Son and Holy Spirit are held to be functions of the Godhead. The Father is held to be eternally Father. The Son is a generation of the Father yet eternally existent. The Spirit is held to be a progression of the Father (Orthodox) or from the Father and the Son (Filioque: Roman Catholic from the Council of Toledo). Thus, Trinitarians hold the Son as a Generation of the Father, yet there was no point at which the Son did not exist. The same is true for the Holy Spirit. This position is intellectually absurd and contrary to Scripture. No relation of Father and Son can be predicated on such a premise within any structure of language or logic.
The son of God who became the only born God was Christ (Jn. 1:18; monogenes theos: see Hort, On [monogenes theos] in Scripture and Tradition in Two Dissertations, Cambridge and London, 1876, pp. 541 ff) which was the exposition on the matter in the disputes from 1861 (following Abbot’s position (Bibl. Sacr. Oct 1861; Unitarian Review, June 1875) to the article by Drummond (Theol. Rev. Oct. 1871) and became the basis for the text according to Hort and also of Tregelles) (see Thayer [monogenes], p. 418). Christ was the Messiah (Ps. 2:2; Jn. 1:41) and Son of God (Eloah) (Jn. 20:17; 1Jn. 5:5; Prov. 30:4-5) born of the virgin, Mary (Isa. 7:14-15; Lk. 1:30-33). He was sent to redeem the creation and to reconcile mankind to God as Saviour (Rom. 5:10; 8:19-23; Col. 1:20; 1Tim. 2:4-6).
There were thus many sons of God. Christ was firstbegotten of the Host but was the only born God. Thus, there were many spirit begotten sons of God but Christ was the only elohim to be born as a man. In this way, he was the prõtotokos or firstbegotten of every creature (Col. 1:15), among many brethren (Rom. 8:29) and the firstbegotten from the dead (Col. 1:18). In this way we are the assembly and church of the firstbegotten or firstborn (Heb. 12:23). We were obviously not firstborn of the human structure. We are the firstborn of the dead in the first resurrection. Thus, there is a distinction developing in the nature of the sons of God over this phase of the creation. Those who are brought out now are destined to become elohim, being of the household of the king, as the Angel of Yahovah was an elohim at their head (Zech. 12:8). Christ became a son of God in power through the Holy Spirit from his resurrection from the dead (Rom. 1:4). Nevertheless, the angels are our brothers as sons of God (Rev. 12:10). They are sent as ministering spirits in order to assist us through this phase (Heb. 1:14) (see the paper The Purpose of the Creation and the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ (No. 160)). Christ gave up his position and authority among the sons of God in order to become human. He was obedient to death (Phil. 2:6). He was in the form of the deity possessing the divine nature but he gave up this power which he had received from God through the Holy Spirit and became a man. He did not attempt to grasp equality with God, as Satan had tried to do (Phil. 2:6 RSV). He advanced through what he suffered, being faithful to He who made him (translated appointed in texts, Heb. 3:2). Though he was a son, he learnt obedience by what he suffered, and being made perfect he became the author of eternal salvation to them that obey him, called of God an High Priest after the order of Melchisedek (Heb. 5:8-10; cf. Ps. 110:4).
The Holy Spirit is thus the power of God (Lk. 1:35; 1Cor. 2:10-14) and is the means by which godly nature is manifested (Ps. 139:1-7; Rom. 8:13-17; 2Tim. 1:7; 1Jn. 3:24), being the spirit of eternal life (Rom. 8:10,14; 2Pet. 1:3-4). Thus Christ receives his power as a son of God through the Holy Spirit. This is true for all the children of God, both of heavenly origin and of the sons of men. Thus, all the Host partake of the divine nature as we do (2Pet. 1:4) through the Holy Spirit.
The early Church held that the nucleus of the Host formed the beginning of the creation (The Shepherd of Hermas, ibid.). The creation of the elohim formed the beginning. Only God existed alone in perpetuity having nothing coeval with Himself. This is the consistent position of the early Church (see the paper Early Theology of the Godhead (No. 127)). This view precludes Binitarianism absolutely. The creation of the spirits as the sons of God was the first stage of the spiritual creation. The physical creation was subsequent to that order.
The Order of the Heavens
The Sons of God were organised into a structure of responsible accountable beings. The Sons of God (Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7; Ps. 86:8-10; 95:3; 96:4; 135:5) are the Bene Elyon or sons of the Most High. They thus have one origin in the Most High God. He who sanctifies and they who are sanctified are of one origin (Heb. 2:11 see below). Christ and the Host are brothers. Christ is to confess us before God and those in the heavens (Ps. 22:22; Heb. 2:12; Rev. 3:5). There is thus an interrelationship that exists between Christ and the other members of the Host where they have a responsibility and a knowledge of the activities in relation to the creation. They form a Council of the Elohim or the Gods of Justice. This understanding is ancient in Israel (see also Leopold Sabourin SJ The Psalms: Their Origin and Meaning, Alba House, NY, pp. 72-74 for notations on this council).
Christ was part of the Council but was sent to the creation as the Lamb and, hence, he was anointed as elohim above his partners (Ps. 45:6-7; Heb. 1:8-9). There was thus a time when he was on the same level and performing similar functions as the rest of the Host were performing. The Bible has a great deal to say about their organisation as a Host. It is, however, scattered and must be put together, precept upon precept, line upon line etc. (Isa. 28:10,13).
We know that Christ was the firstbegotten of the creation. He organised or created the thrones, dominions, principalities, authorities. In him all things hold together or subsist (Col. 1:16-17).
He is thus one of the elohim, but he is now their High Priest. The Council is identified in the NT as being a structure of some thirty beings. However, we know that the council of the Sanhedrin was appointed as seventy elders and we know that they were identified as seventy-two beings. This was extended to the elders of the Church from the ordination of the seventy in Luke 10:1,17 where the seventy are in fact the seventy [two] or hebdomakonta [duo]. We will see below that the seventy of the Host were allotted the nations in responsibility. The Book of Revelation gives the structure of the inner thirty. This group tells us much about the organisation of the Host.
Revelation 4:1-11 After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. 2 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. 3 And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. 4 And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. 5 And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. 6 And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. 7 And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. 8 And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. 9 And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, 10 The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. (KJV)
The throne of God is surrounded by four beasts with different heads. These are of a lion, a bull, an eagle and a man. They have six wings. The beings that have six wings are the seraphim. These beings are referred to in Isaiah 6:2,6. They had the power to purge sin to prepare the prophets (Isa. 6:7). These beings were charged with preparing Isaiah to go with the message of the scattering from Isaiah 6:8 and also the gathering from Isaiah 40:3,6.
The word Seraphim is the plural of SHD 8314 sârâph meaning burning and, hence, poisonous as a serpent (see Strong’s). The sense of burning is also associated with their copper colour. They are thus the fiery serpents of the heavens. The orientals referred to them as dragons. This understanding was common knowledge in both Israel and the entire ancient world. The early British, specifically the Welsh and the Cornish, used the term dragon as synonymous with king and the emblem of Wales to this day is the Red Dragon. The Red Dragon is identified as the Covering Cherub Satan (Rev. 12:3). Their name derives from the Hebrew root sâraph (SHD 8313) meaning to set on fire or kindle. These beings are the key elements of the celestial Host. They are the archangels. The six wings denote their rank and function. The wings are in three divisions. It appears that the numbers of wings may represent function perhaps in their proximity to God and, hence, their messenger responsibilities and their teaching and administrative functions.
The archangels were always represented in four divisions. The Book of Enoch names them Michael (the one in charge of the best part of mankind), Gabriel (is in charge of the serpents, the Garden and the Cherubim), Uriel (the angel of thunders and tremors, i.e. Rev. 11:13,16; 16:18) and Raphael (meaning God has healed; He is the angel of the spirits of men. i.e. the Angel of the Resurrection). The name Raphael is perhaps a reference to the breach Satanel created when he rebelled and lost the el name or suffix and hence his rank. Satan was thus removed as Covering Cherub. The name Raphael may also refer to the reconciliation of the resurrection.
The names of the key angels also include Raguel (who takes vengeance on the world and the lights, i.e. another Angel of Revelation) and Saraqael (he is in charge of the spirits who cause men to sin, i.e. he is the angel of the bottomless pit) (Knibb The Ethiopic Book of Enoch, Oxford Clarendon, 1982, Vol. 2, Ch. 20.1-2, pp. 106-107). The angels were six in number and this is the number mentioned in the Shepherd of Hermas as being in the central creation. The Shepherd of Hermas identifies Michael as the archangel at Sinai who gave the law. Acts identifies the being in the Exodus as Christ. Thus, coupled with the texts in Daniel 10:13,21; 12:1, Jude 9 and Revelation 12:7 where he is the captain of the army of the Lord, which is the position allotted to Christ, it is not surprising that the Church tended to identify Christ as Michael, before the incarnation.
The symbolism of the heads of the creatures surrounding the throne of God can be identified by reference to the Old Testament where the Cherubim are found. They are referred to in Ezekiel 10:1-20 (see the paper The Meaning of Ezekiel's Vision (No. 108)) for explanation). There they are identified as Cherubim by cross reference also to Ezekiel 1:1-28. This structure of the Cherubim was replicated at the level of four wings. Thus, the function appears to be replicated by function or subdivision also. We can deduce that the symbolism of the four animals relates to the Cherubim surrounding the throne of God. Two of these Cherubim were set at the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:24).
What function do the animal heads serve? The answer can be found in the battle standards of Israel and the division of the tribes from Numbers 10 and 11. The Tabernacle was a replica or shadow of the heavenly system. The Council of the elders is placed around the tabernacle. The Spirit of the Lord was placed upon them and they prophesied as did Moses who was the centrality of God’s activity to the physical creation (see Num. 11:24-25). In addition to the seventy, there were also two prophets Eldad and Medad who prophesied outside the tabernacle, thus making the seventy-two in physical terms (Num. 11:26-30). God and Christ are the spiritual additions.
There was thus the Tabernacle at the centre of the Host of Israel. Inside the Tabernacle were the Holy of Holies and the Spirit of the Lord. Moses and Aaron tended the Holy of Holies. Moses was made Elohim to Pharaoh and hence held that appointment (Ex. 7:1). Aaron was High Priest. This was representational of the God/Christ relationship.
The tribes were set in twelve divisions around the Tabernacle. The tribe of Levi was made the priesthood. Joseph was divided into two tribes for the birthright, namely Ephraim and Manasseh. The twelve tribes were in four divisions. The northern division was Dan, Asher and Napthali. The eastern division was Judah, Issachar and Zebulun. The southern division had Reuben, Simeon and Gad. The western division had Ephraim, Manasseh and Benjamin. The twelve tribes each had standards. The symbols of the four divisions coincided with the four symbols of the lead tribes. Judah was first of the tribes (Num. 10:14). They then went in order of listing: Issachar, Zebulun. This, the eastern division, was the first order of march. The symbol of Judah was a lion. The Tabernacle then followed.
The second in order of march was Reuben followed by Simeon and Gad. This division was identified with the man in the southern system (see Ezek. 1 for direction). The western division was Ephraim, then Manasseh and Benjamin. The symbol of the western division was a bull. The northern division was Dan, Asher, Napthali and the symbol of the northern division was an eagle. Dan was also associated with a serpent or scorpion. This northern division was the last in the order of march of Israel (Num. 10:25) and, hence, the scorpion was appropriate as a battle sign. The sting of Israel, as they saw it, was in its tail.
The promises to the tribes also have significance to their identification (Gen. 49:1-28).
The divisions of the priesthood were also made into twenty-four (as were the divisions of the nation). Thus, there were two divisions made for each tribe. This is an allegory for the allocation of two Cherubim to a unit. There were two Cherubim to the ark and the mercy seat (Ex. 25:18 to 26:31; 37:8-9). This is represented by the transfiguration also where Christ was seen with Moses and Elijah. Christ occupies the mercy seat as High Priest. Moses and Elijah are represented as Covering Cherubs or they take the function of these beings, replacing the two positions forfeited in the rebellion by Satan, and as we will see, the lion headed being or Aion. The twenty-four divisions represented the priesthood in the Temple as we see from the divisions listed in 1Chronicles 24:7-19. The twenty-four also represented the divisions of the heavenly tabernacle as we see from Revelation 4:1 ff.
From Revelation 4 and 5 we see that the heavenly Council of the elders was comprised of twenty-four elders. They were round about the throne. They have white raiment and crowns of gold (Rev. 4:4). The seven spirits of God are before the throne as seven lamps of fire. Before the throne was a sea of glass like crystal. The four creatures were in the midst of the throne and round about it. Thus, these beings shared authority with God and their divisions surrounded the throne. Here we have a distinction. The elders have a position before the throne as a council, whereas the four creatures share the functions of the authority conferred by it. We can deduce from the positions in the prophecies of Ezekiel 1 & 10 and the placement around the tabernacle from Numbers 10 that the archangels order the four divisions of the heavenly Host. The basis of two to a tribe for the tabernacle indicates that there are twelve heavenly divisions within the four administrative zones or quadrants.
The inner Council represent the function of judgment. Hence the injunction:
You shall not revile the gods (elohim) or the ruler of your people (Ex. 22:28).
The function of judgment rests with the Council, under Christ. This function extends to the Sanhedrin also. Hence, the elohim are those in judgment. We cannot infer an hierarchical structure from this grouping. Indeed it appears that the elohim are delegated responsibility for monitoring the prayers of the saints (Rev. 5:8). Thus our judgment must in some way be associated with our interaction with this Council. This structure does not imply an order or hierarchy but, rather, just decision based on group interaction.
The Propaganda War in the Heavens
From Ezekiel 1 & 10 we might deduce that the Cherubim have delegated authority to the four quadrants. We find this symbolism in the ancient world in the minotaur, the aion, the genii and the titans or the fallen Host. These symbols were found among the Cretans, the Greeks, the Persians and the orientals generally.
As might be expected in any war, there is an ongoing system of propaganda. Satan has established a system based on deceit and he is termed the father of lies (Jn. 8:44). He is the prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:2). The pseudologon mentioned in 1Timothy 4:2 may not simply be lies but, rather, a false spirit or utterance which is on a substitute scale for the Holy Spirit or emanation from God, and of which Christ was representative as logos.
The two systems of propaganda are thus the Bible as revealed prophecy on the one hand and the pagan systems, mystery cults and oracles on the other hand. We thus might get a better understanding of the ancient’s view of the heavenly cosmology from history and archaeology.
The Mithras system shows the bull-slaying symbolism where Perseus slays the bull with the other star systems looking on or associated with it. The Mithras typology is in fact an observation of the heavenly system, not as it was in the first century, as one would expect, but rather as it was some millennia before. This myth is thus ancient and reflects an understanding of the battles in the heavens centuries before the birth of Christ.
We can deduce from the symbolism also what divisions of the heavens were associated with the rebellion. The man headed cherub was Satan. He tried to supplant the Father. In the same way Reuben, Israel’s firstborn, defiled his father’s bed trying to supplant him and lost his birthright. Satan took a third of the Host and not simply a quadrant. Thus, part of another system is indicated. Who these might be can be identified from history. The understanding of the mystery cults of the Mithras and Aion systems always portrayed the Aion with a serpent wound around the Aion and the serpent’s head above that of the Aion (see D. Ulansey, The Origin of the Mithraic Mysteries, Oxford University Press, New York, 1989, plates 1.4, 3.5, 5.2, 7.15). We might thus deduce from the mystery cults and the legends associated with them concerning the Aion system that the second element of the rebellion was the Aion or lion headed system.
This is also reinforced by a number of twists to the symbolism. The Aion is also associated with the Gorgon figure. Also the man headed system is portrayed by the entwined serpent with the lion head on its chest (Ulansey, ibid., plate 7.19). The Gorgon is portrayed as the opposite side of the Aion figure on a regular basis (Ulansey, p. 33 etc.). It appears that the Gorgon is a representation of the other half of the Aion system. The Gorgon is the opposing element. This is explained in biblical terms as the rebellion or division of the second quadrant some of whom joined Satan in the rebellion. The legend of the Gorgon and Perseus is thus related to the rebellion in the heavens. Satan-Perseus and the Aion rebelled and there was an internal conflict in the Aion system itself.
Far from being myths that have no application to the biblical model, the pagan myths are actual reversals of the war in the heavens given from the opposing viewpoint. This information then has greater bearing on the understanding of the heavenly structure.
The zodiac is associated with the Aion (plate 7.15 and also Mithras plate 7.18) where he emerges from the egg of the eastern systems. Ulansey holds that we are dealing with a Mithraic-Orphic-Aionic symbolism (p. 122). The Orphic mysteries are also associated with Chronos and Phanes regarding time. The Orphic Modena relief depicts Phanes entwined by the serpent Chronos, breaking out of the cosmic egg (Ulansey, fig. 7:17) which must be compared with the standard Mithraic lion headed god. Ulansey says that what appears:
… to be differences between these two figures fade away when we notice, for example, that the zodiac surrounding the Orphic Phanes appears also on the body of the lion-headed god.... and that the lion head of the Mithraic figure appears on the chest of the Orphic god. Even the egg out of which Phanes is born seems to be mirrored by the globe on which the Mithraic lion headed figure is standing. Indeed we know from an inscription carved into the Modena relief that although originally Orphic, it at one point came into the possession of a Mithraic initiate (p. 120).
Ulansey says that the identification between Mithras and Phanes ... is also explicitly attested by an inscription found in Rome dedicated to Zeus-Helios-Mithras-Phanes (p. 121).
The Aion or Hellenistic god of time is clearly identified with this system and the zodiac (ibid.).
The Mithras system and the zodiac which is associated with it and with the Babylonian mysteries is a counter representation of the biblical model. We can construct the zodiac in relation to the biblical tribes and we shall see a similar but different model to the structure identified by the location of the tribes and the symbols identified with them. This subject needs separate treatment in its own right and will be dealt with in the near future.
The mystery cults which have penetrated Christianity through the Roman system are of themselves representative of the Hellenistic portrayal of the heavenly structure as understood from the periods after the flood epoch. This shows the battles and the cosmology from their point of view. This cosmological view is still present in modern society.
Ordering of the Physical Creation
Responsibility of the physical creation was allotted by God to the Host. The sons of God were allotted the nations according to their number which from tradition was seventy as there were traditionally seventy nations in the distribution under God. This text is found in Deuteronomy 32:8.
Deuteronomy 32:8 When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of men, he fixed the bounds of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God. (RSV)
The term Sons of God (beny Eliym) was found in the Hebrew texts of 32:8 in the Dead Sea Scrolls. The LXX renders the text angels of God (aggelon Theou). We know from the historical evidence that the Masoretic Text (MT) was altered some time after Christ to read sons of Israel. The text carries in to the KJV, but that is demonstrably incorrect, given the LXX and the finds of the DSS which are mutually supporting and confirmed by the other literature. The reason the MT was changed appears to have been to confine the concept of the Godhead. Regardless of this text, from the Old Testament, there are multiple sons of God of whom Christ was one before the incarnation.
As we have seen, the Sons of God were organised into a structure of government. This was termed the Council of the Elohim or the Council of the Gods of Justice (see also Sabourin, ibid.).
The Psalms refer to the elohim in multiple forms in many texts. The Elohim of Israel was among this Council (Ps. 82:1) and this Council was to be extended to include humans (Ps. 82:6). The elect were to become the household of the king and hence elohim as was the Angel of Yahovah at their head (Zech. 12:8). The Angel of Yahovah was thus an Elohim (Gen. 48:15-16; Zech 12:8; see also the paper The Angel of YHVH (No. 24)). Whenever the elohim or sons of God were sent to mankind they were termed messengers. This is malak in the Hebrew or aggelon in the Greek. The word angel simply means messenger. These angels were termed Elohim, and also Yahovah, because they were messengers for the Council and for God Most High or Yahovah of Hosts. The Angel of Yahovah was termed the God-who-sees by Hagar (Gen. 16:7-13) hence the New Testament text at Revelation 2:18,25. He was referred to as Elohim and the Angel of Yahovah interchangeably (Gen 21:17-20).
Yahovah is a distributed title derived from Yahovah of Hosts who is the one true God. The Angel of Yahovah appeared for the One True God, the Almighty who is God the Father (e.g. Gen. 17:1-3; 2Cor. 6:18; Rev. 15:3; 19:15 RSV; 21:22) whom no one has ever seen (1Tim. 6:16; Jn. 1:18; 17:3; 1Jn. 5:20). In Genesis 18:2-3 three beings appear. All three are referred to as Yahovah. In Genesis 18:16-22 one of these beings termed Yahovah stays with Abraham after the other two leave for Sodom. This YHVH then refers to YHVH in the third person as blessing Abraham, thus indicating multiple beings carrying the title Yahovah.
The beings called YHVH are referred to in chapter 19 as malak or angels (Gen 19:18 RSV; note this is one of the 134 alterations of Yahovah by the Sopherim to Adonai). The Angel of Yahovah is referred to as Elohim and Yahovah in multiple places in the Old Testament (see the paper The Angel of YHVH (No. 24)). He is the God of the House of God (El Bethel; Gen. 28:11-21; 31:11-13). This elohim was anointed as elohim or High Priest over the house of God (Ps. 45:6-7; Heb. 1:8-9; 3:6; 10:21). He blessed Abraham and Isaac, as Ishmael had been blessed by the Angel of Yahovah, the God who sees (Gen. 35:1-13). He was the face of God identified as an elohim. Yet Hosea clearly says he was both elohim and an angel and elohim of the Host (Gen. 32:24-30; Hos. 12:3-5). This elohim of the host (ha Sabaoth) is the captain of the Army of the Lord (or the armies of Heaven) referred to in Joshua 5:15 (see also Mat. 24:30-31; 1Thes. 4:16; Jude 14; Rev. 19:13-14). He made Joshua take off his shoes as he had made Moses take of his shoes when he gave him the law at Sinai. He was referred to as the Angel of the Lord or Yahovah and, here, an angel as the Captain of the Army of the Lord (i.e. the Captain of the Host) The Angel of Yahovah led Israel in the wilderness. 1Corinthians 10:1-4 identifies this being as Christ as did Stephen at Acts 7:30-38.
The angel in the bush identified himself as the Elohi or God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who was the Angel of Redemption (Gen. 48:15-16). The Angel of YHVH is termed both Yahovah and Elohim and these titles are interchangeable (from Ex. 3:1-6,10-12). He was also the Yahovah as the Angel of God in the cloud (Ex. 13:21; 14:19,24). This angel, who led Israel through the sea, was Christ (1Cor. 10:1-4).
Zechariah 2:8 shows that Yahovah of Hosts sends this being to the nations which spoiled Israel. This angel of Zechariah 2:3-9 is Messiah as Yahovah and is sent by Yahovah of Hosts.
It should be evident now that the Sons of God are allocated their power and position by God. They sit as a Council with the God Most High as the object of reverence and with Messiah as High Priest (Ps. 86:8; 95:3; 96:4,5; 97:7,9; 135:5; 136:2; 138:1; Rev. 4:1 to 5:14).
These beings are the inner Council. The inner Council has thirty beings. It is comprised of twenty-four elders under the High Priest who is the Lamb or Messiah. The council has four creatures that appear to have administrative functions and relate to control situations within the Host. This will be examined later in the series (Rev. 4:1 to 5:14).
The numbering of the three and the thirty within Israel under David (1Chron. 11:12,15) also appear to be symbolic of the inner elohim as an administrative structure, i.e. Christ, Moses and Elijah (from Mk. 9:4) over the thirty.
God is thus the centre of the Council. He shares power with Christ and the Host by means of His Holy Spirit. Satan was one of the two Covering Cherubs. The four living creatures and the Council discharge function within the Host related to administration and judgment. The entire Host are directly linked to God through the Holy Spirit. Thus, the head of every man is Christ and the head of Christ is God (1Cor. 11:3). This is also reflected in the Host. The determinative functions of the Council are not therefore hierarchical.
Messiah was anointed as High Priest above his partners (Ps. 45:6-7; Heb. 1:8-9). He came to redeem mankind and reconcile the creation to God. This included the Host. The Bible is quite clear that Christ has the same origin as all of us (enos pantes KJV and RSV; see Marshall’s Interlinear enos = one; pantes = certainly, in any every way; see Thayer, p. 476, they are of one wholly in all respects. The NIV translates it as of the same family to limit the implications). Both he who sanctifies and they who are sanctified have one origin (Heb. 2:11). Christ states that he is not ashamed to announce our name as the children God gave to him. He proclaims us as brothers to his brothers singing our praise (lit. hymn us) (Ps. 22:22). He does this in the church (ecclessias) or congregation (SHD 6951 qâhâl assembly in its military aspect) of his brothers, because he trusts in God who did not hide His face from him (Heb. 2:11-13; cf. Ps. 22:22-24; 2Sam. 22:3; Isa. 8:18 see also Green’s Interlinear Bible). Hebrews 2:16 is translated as he took not on him the nature of angels in the KJV. But we see that they are his brothers, as we are. The RSV translates the text more correctly as: For surely it is not with angels that he is concerned but with the descendants of Abraham. Christ was sent to humanity to redeem the world as children of Abraham. The loyal Host had already proved themselves. Why, as sons of God and brothers of Christ, would they need his presence? The redemption had to take place among men as flesh and blood. To do that Christ as the anointed High Priest had to lay down his position and life, trusting in God. He had to show his loyalty and trust and worthiness to inherit the High Priesthood and the Kingdom. He had to lay down his life and die, and only as a man was that possible. He sanctified us, and the Host, and redeemed us and the Host to God (see also Rev. 4:1 to 5:14 esp. 5:5-14)
By what Scriptural authority is it asserted that Christ is of a different origin or cause than the Host and us all who are products of the Father? Have we not all one Father, our creator (Mal. 2:10)? Christ is not the One True God, Eloah the Most High God (Deut. 32:8; Prov. 30:4-5; Jn 17:3).
Christ was the only born God (Jn. 1:18) appointed as elohim above his partners (Ps. 45:6-7; Heb. 1:8-9). This term of monogenes theos or only born god (see above) is rendered only begotten son by Trinitarians and Binitarians. Christ was one of the Sons of God but he was the only one to lay aside his position and form and become human (Phil. 2:6-8 RSV) as the only born elohim or theos (cf. the paper The Pre-Existence of Jesus Christ (No. 243)). He was, until that time, the firstbegotten or prõtotokos of every creature (Col. 1:15). He was destined to become the firstbegotten from the dead (Col. 1:18). He is the beginning of the creation of God (Rev. 3:14). God brought him into the world (Heb. 1:6). He is the only born elohim or theos but the firstbegotten of the creation and firstbegotten from the dead. He achieved the position of Son of God in power from his resurrection from the dead (Rom. 1:4).
The question of adoption does not arise with any of the Elohim Host. They are all Sons of God by virtue of the extension of the Holy Spirit (see the papers The Holy Spirit (No. 117) and Consubstantial with the Father (No. 81)).
The rebellion saw many of the Sons of God fall from power and grace. They held the Holy Spirit as we do, namely by the grace of God. Christ holds this power from the grace of God.
The elohim of Israel, namely Jesus Christ, was anointed as elohim by his elohim above his partners (Heb 1:8-9; cf. Ps. 45:6-7). The assertion by Binitarianism that Christ is one of two Gods who were true Gods from the beginning, co-eternal and co-equal, is contrary to Scripture. Christ and the creation have one origin, namely they are products of the one true God who sent His son Jesus Christ to redeem the creation (Jn. 17:3; 1Jn. 5:20). No man has seen God or ever can see God because he dwells in unapproachable light and cannot be seen by humans. He alone is immortal (Jn. 1:18; 1Tim. 6:16).
The early Church was of this view, but it is construed in such a way as to infer adoptionism.
The late first or early second century work The Shepherd of Hermas was originally included with the canon in many areas of the Church (see the paper The Bible (No. 164)). Irenaeus, of John’s school, quotes it as Scripture. It says (see Sim. v. and ix, 1,12) in Harnack’s words (Hist. of Dogma [eng. tr.] I. 191 n.; cf. Burn Adoptionism, ERE, Vol. I, p. 103).
‘The Holy Spirit - it is not certain whether He is identified with the chief Archangel - is regarded as the pre-existent Son of God, who is older than creation, nay, was God’s counsellor at creation. The Redeemer is the virtuous man chosen by God, with whom that Spirit of God was united. As He did not defile the Spirit, but kept Him constantly as His companion, and carried out the work to which the Deity had called Him, nay, did more than He was commanded, He was, in virtue of a Divine decree, adopted as a son and exalted to [megale ezousia kai kuriotes]
Here we see the view tentatively advanced by Harnack which joins the pre-existent Christ and the Holy Spirit, making them together as the Chief Archangel which then was joined with the human son of Mary. This is an incorrect view of the biblical structure and of the Shepherd of Hermas. The early Church was of the view that Christ was a Son of God and the Archangel of Yahovah referred to in the Old Testament. Messiah was understood to be Michael by Judah and some branches of the early Church (cf. Dan. 10:13,21; 12:1; Jude 9; Rev. 12:7). The implications of the name and functions of Raphael also could be associated with Messiah. Raphael simply means God has healed. The message of the resurrection is also implied in the name and the responsibilities also relate to those of Messiah. Messiah has charge of the spirits of men from the resurrection and judgment. The understanding of this activity was at least present in the ancient Hebrews.
The theologians, and seemingly Harnack himself, misapprehend the relationship between the Holy Spirit and the Sons of God. In each case they try to make only one Son of God extant before the physical creation and the incarnation, when that is not the biblical position and untrue (Gen. 6:4; Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:4-7). They fail to understand that the Holy Spirit is the power of God that confers sonship and the nature of God on all, both in heaven and in the elect. We all partake of the divine nature (2Pet. 1:4).
The Sons of God are an entire order of beings of which Christ was one among many of those beings. They appear to extend to a greater structure of the Host from the Council, numbering one thousand. Job says that one of the thousand would ransom man (Job 33:23-34). The Host were sent as messengers. They are our brethren (Rev. 12:10). We will be equal with them in the Kingdom (Lk. 20:36). We will be children of God (Mat. 5:9) and elohim (or theoi) (Zech. 12:8; Jn. 10:34-36) and Scripture cannot be broken.
The Sons of God we understand as the angelic Host were made ministering spirits to us (Heb. 1:14) so that we might inherit the Kingdom of God. Neither they nor we are diminished by this activity of God. Such a notion is satanic propaganda.
The assertions regarding the Angel of Yahovah being an Elohim are constant throughout the Old Testament and reinforced by the New Testament.
The human elect are given the spirit of adoption, as children of God, which occurs finally with the redemption of our bodies (Rom. 8:15,23; 9:4; Gal. 4:5 Eph. 1:5; see the paper Born Again (No. 172)). The final manifestation of the Sons of God is yet to occur and we wait for that phase at the resurrection (Rom. 8:19-23). Therefore, the Sons of God extend over the entire phase of the creation.
It is as absurd to suggest that the Host are not Sons of God as it is to suggest that we are not and will not be Sons of God in power from the resurrection from the dead as was Christ (Rom. 1:4). The Host were Sons of God from their creation. We are sons from our adoption. They received the Holy Spirit from the outset. We received it from our baptism. Each receives it by the grace of God. Christ is as dependent upon God for eternal life as we all are. We all have one origin, namely Eloah the one true God (see the papers The Holy Spirit (No. 117); On Immortality (No. 165); The Deity of Christ (No. 147) and The Pre-Existence of Jesus Christ (No. 243)).