Also includes 1 Kings 22.
How does God use the fallen angels to accomplish His purposes in the universe? Listen to this lesson to learn that God controls everything and nothing is allowed without His permission. Hear examples involving Daniel, Job, and Ahab, king of Israel. By understanding that God is the Supreme Authority, our focus should be on our own spiritual life and avoid being distracted by all the chaos and lies surrounding us.
The Divine Council: The Angelic Revolt and the Nations
Deuteronomy 32:8–9; Daniel 10:13–21; 1 Kings 22
Angelic Rebellion Lesson #07
December 3, 2020
Dr. Robert L. Dean, Jr.
“Our Father, it’s a great privilege we have to come together to study Your Word, to reflect upon what You have revealed here, to think our way through what seemed to be, for us, some difficult passages where we just get glimpses of what’s going on behind-the-scenes in the heavenly realm and to try to put these things together, to make some sense out of how You are overseeing the outwork of the angelic revolt and how that intersects with human history.
“So, Father, help us to think clearly, to work through these things, to not be too concerned about the fact that there are questions that we have that will not be answered because we just don’t have that much information.
“Father, we pray that as we study and teach, we can reflect the truth of Your Word and that we will be encouraged and strengthened, knowing that You are in control, no matter what seems to be going on in the chaotic world around us. We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.”
I want to start tonight by going back to where I ended on Tuesday night with Daniel 10. So, we’re going to look at what we learned there—seeing how these angels are doing things behind the scenes. We’re going to look at three passages.
We’re going to look at Daniel 10. We’re going to look at Job 1 and Job 2 again, and 1 Kings 22. Because what we see in these passages is that, for the most part, the human beings that are involved have no idea what is going on behind the scenes.
You can think about going to the theater. You are watching a play, and there are actually two scenarios. There is one scenario that’s on the front part of the stage, and then behind the curtain there are other things going on that are impacting what’s going on on the stage.
But the people on the stage don’t have any idea what’s going on behind the scenes. And yet God in His Word has given us these small, short pictures to let us know that things are not limited to what we can see, feel, hear, taste, and touch.
But we have to be careful with this because there are people in the world who think that they can go to these passages and extrapolate a tremendous amount of things that are going on. Usually they mishandle these passages. And part of this comes out of this whole mystical arena—whether you’re talking about the extreme forms of mysticism that dominated in the intertestamental period (that’s a period between the Old Testament and the New Testament). You have these various books that are written, known as the pseudepigrapha.
Now that’s a good, big word for you. It’s the “false writings.” The pseudepigrapha. Now, the pseudepigrapha is different from the Apocrypha. The Apocrypha refers to a group of books that are accepted as canonical by some Christian groups. That’s the Apocrypha. They are not inspired by God. They’re not accepted by Jews as part of the Old Testament Canon or the standard of the faith; they are not thought of as being revealed by God. But they are included …
Now, how did we get them? We got them because they were part of this group of Jewish literature. The intertestamental period is the time period within which they were written. They tell some legends of the Jews. They tell the stories about the history of what goes on in the period between the close of the Old Testament period and the Gospels. But they were never accepted as canonical by the Jews.
But in the early church there was a scholar by the name of Jerome. Around the fourth or fifth century, he goes to Bethlehem. If you’ve been to Israel and you go to the Church of the Nativity there in Bethlehem, there is a statue to him. If you go down into the basement area, there is a room where he translated the Bible into Latin from Hebrew and Greek, and that became known as the Vulgate. From the word “vulgar,” which just means “common,” in the common language. It’s equivalent to “koine” for Koine Greek.
Jerome included the Apocrypha in the Old Testament. So you went Genesis to Malachi, and then you had these other books. But he wrote in his introduction that these books were not canonical, “but they did give us a lot of good information, so they should be read.” The trouble is that people didn’t read the introduction, so they just assumed that they were part of the Bible.
If you are in the Roman Catholic Church, you have a Roman Catholic background, then some of these books were included in the Roman Catholic Old Testament. Some of these books are included—a different set, give or take one or two—in the eastern Orthodox churches—and a slightly different set in the Syrian Orthodox and some of these other churches. It only involves about 11, 12, or 13 different books.
The pseudepigrapha is different. They these books were never, ever considered to be part of Scripture. And there are things that claim to have been written by the apostles—or by their associates—books like the epistles of Barnabas or the Gospel of Paul—things of this nature. They are considered false writings.
Some of them are intertestamental, and some of them are after the church. You also have the book of Enoch; that’s part of this group. The book of Enoch is referred to in Jude. But it would be as if I were reading Scripture—which is absolute and inerrant from the Word of God—and then I were to include a quote from an ancient book that is true, but it’s not Scripture. So, Jude quotes from the book of Enoch. What he quotes is true, but that doesn’t mean that he believed the book of Enoch was inspired by God.
So you have this strange angelology that develops in the intertestamental period that doesn’t have anything to do with what God revealed. It’s just developed—these legends and ideas from various Jewish religious leaders. Let’s just put it that way. We have to be careful with what the Scripture says and what is not revealed and be satisfied with the limitations that are there.
We’ve been looking at this whole issue of the Divine Council, or the Divine Assembly, in terms of its relation to the angelic rebellion. Tonight we’re going to look at the angelic revolt and how it impacts the nations—how it impacts history.
Of course, one of the things that we should always remember when we’re thinking about history—and especially the Old Testament—is, “What’s the center of the Old Testament?” It’s Israel and the Abrahamic Covenant. So, we have to understand these things that happen as they relate to Israel.
Now, Job doesn’t because Job is written before—or at least at the same time of—Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. So, there’s no mention of them. And there’s no mention of Israel. So, it really relates to Gentiles.
But what we have here in Daniel 10 and in 1 Kings 22 ... Both of these are profoundly related to God’s plan and purposes for Israel. Both in the Old Testament, 1 Kings 22, and again when you get into Daniel 10 it’s relating to what’s happening when they’re out of the land in Babylon—and then what’s going to happen in the future.
So, just to remind ourselves, we have this concept in the Scripture known as the Divine Assembly, or the Assembly of El, or El’s Assembly. This is God the Father, ’Elohim. Psalm 82:1 says, “’Elohim stands in the congregation of the mighty [literally, it’s ‘the congregation of El’]; He judges among the ’elohim.” Now, what He judges them for is how they are wrongly influencing human history. And that’s what’s covered in the subsequent verses.
We went from there to Deuteronomy 32:7–9. Where, in looking at that passage, there is a reference back to what happened historically at the Tower of Babel. When God scattered the languages, He did that in such a way that it would divide the people into their subsequent nations—their tribal groups, clan groups, nations eventually. So that’s what is referred to in verse 8, “When the Most High—El Elyon—divided their inheritance to the nations …” So, He is dividing up the human race into nations.
“… When He separated the sons of Adam—that is, the human race—He set the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the children of the sons of God.” We went through a lot the other night talking about how this works. Because some English versions follow the Masoretic Text, and other English versions follow the reading in some of the Dead Sea Scrolls and in the Septuagint where it translates it as either “sons of God,” which is another term for the angels, or the Septuagint just says “angels.” It just tells you what that phrase means.
Then we’re told: in contrast to the nations that are assigned to these demonic forces—because God is giving them over to judgment, Romans 1:18–22 … In contrast to the inheritance of the nations, the Lord’s inheritance—the Lord’s portion—is His people. So, He is no longer going to be working with all of the Gentile peoples. He’s restricting His work through the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
As we’ve seen, He has a plan and purpose for Israel. That plan and purpose has not been forgotten, has not been reneged upon, just because the Jews rejected Jesus as the Messiah. There is a future plan. And that’s what these prophecies in Daniel talk about.
In Daniel 8 and Daniel 9 we have the great prophecy related to the timeframe, that there are 69 periods of seven or 69×7 number of years. It’s comes out to 483 years from the beginning of the covenant. The Antichrist, the prince who is to come, will confirm a covenant with the many for one week. This is what starts the countdown of the 70th week of Daniel. See, 483 years leaves out the last seven; that last seven is a period that’s assigned to Israel, and that is the Tribulation period. What starts the clock ticking again for Israel is when the Antichrist signs this peace treaty with Israel. That will happen after we are raptured.
The Rapture occurs first. The Rapture does not start the Tribulation. The Rapture ends the Church Age—just as the Cross ended the age of Israel and Pentecost began the age of the church. But in between there was a 50-day period that is sort of a transition period between the two dispensations. We are going to have the same thing at the end of the Church Age. The Rapture occurs; then there’s going to be this unknown period of time; and then the Antichrist will sign this peace treaty with Israel. That’s when people who have gotten saved and learned some things in the intermittent time will understand that this guy is the Antichrist. Don’t try to speculate today, you have no idea who this guy is going to be. People waste a lot of time trying to figure out who it is.
And in every generation … Satan doesn’t know when the Rapture is going to occur any more than you do, and so he always has to have his candidate for Antichrist being prepped. There’s always going to be somebody who looks like they could be the Antichrist because he can’t be caught by surprise. He always has to have somebody ready who can move into that position. So, Daniel 9 ends with that.
Then, what generated that particular vision is that Daniel had been reading in Jeremiah where God makes very clear to Jeremiah that the time that Israel will be out of the land would be 70 years. Daniel realizes that time was almost up, and so he prays to God. Most of that chapter is his prayer, his confession as a leader for Israel.
He stands in their place and confesses their sins to God, and he prays that God will fulfill His promise to restore the Jews to their historic homeland. And then Gabriel comes with this answer to his prayer and lays out the timeframe. That whole thing is an isolated individual incident. And then Daniel 10 starts with another incident that relates to Israel’s future—their present and their future. It takes place in the third year of Cyrus, who is the king of Persia. There is this message revealed to Daniel, whose Babylonian name that was given to him was Belteshazzar. So, it again is the issue.
Now, what Daniel tells us is that he has been looking at the scenario. Because now the Persians have defeated the Babylonians, and the Persians are in control, and he is still praying and fasting, seeking answers from God as to when the Jews are going to be going back to the land.
Now, he does that for three weeks—that’s 21 days. And he says that he didn’t need any pleasant food, no meat or wine came into his mouth. “… nor did I anoint myself at all …” So, he didn’t take a bath or shower for the whole three weeks.
Then he’s down by the river Tigris on the fourth day. Maybe he was going to take a bath—we don’t know—but it’s been three weeks, so he needs one. He lifts his eyes. “… and behold, a certain man clothed in linen, whose waist was girded with gold of Uphaz!” Now, as I said the other night, some people think this is the Christ, but it’s not because this angelic being is unnamed. Most people think it’s Gabriel.
The other day I misspoke on this. Gabriel is a messenger for God to the Jewish people. Michael is the chief prince. There’s only one archangel mentioned in Scripture. He is the chief prince. And his primary responsibility is the oversight of the Jewish people. We know that from Daniel 12:1.
Daniel 12:1, “ ‘At that time Michael shall stand up, The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people …’ ” The “at that time” in Daniel 12 is talking about the Tribulation period, because it goes on to say, “… And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time.” That’s the same thing Jesus says about the Tribulation period in Matthew 24 in the Olivet Discourse. So, this messenger comes, and there’s a good chance that it is Gabriel.
From the interaction here—we’re not going to get into a lot of details of the passage—we learn that there are what I will call “national angels,” or national spirits. These are either elect angels, or they are fallen angels, who are assigned to these people. That’s an important thing to point out here, that they are assigned to the people and they are not assigned to specific territory.
Now, this is important because you see people … There is a woman charismatic “pastor.” I use the term very loosely—that’s what she calls herself. She is one of the evangelicals who counsel and give advice to our president. Her name is Paula White, and she is a flaky false teacher.
I’m not going to spend time studying all of this stuff in our 1 Peter study. But they get these “revelations” all of the time, and they think all the revelatory gifts continue. And they get “words of wisdom” and “words of knowledge.” And these are just figments of their own imagination, because 1 Corinthians 13 tells us that knowledge and prophecy were given for a limited period of time, and that when the perfect comes …
I’ve done numbers of studies of that word “perfect” over the years. If you want to go back and listen to those, you can, where it’s clear the “perfect” is the completion of the New Testament Canon. It was necessary to have these revelatory gifts up until the completion of the Canon because people did not have a sufficient, complete Word of God yet. But once the Canon—once the New Testament—was completed and all of it was written, there was no longer a need or a reason for these revelatory gifts to continue. They were temporary gifts.
So what happens today in the charismatic Pentecostal third wave movement, which is often dominated by people who believe in dominion theology … This is another completely false doctrine, that we need to take dominion over this earth in the name of Jesus. And that includes taking dominion over Satan, and taking dominion over the demons, and taking dominion over these “territorial spirits.” And there’s just a tremendous amount of literature out there that is ultimately based on all of these kinds of revelation.
The most important decision that people need to make in their life has to do with the authority of the Word of God. Are we going to judge our culture, judge our experience, judge our history on the basis of the Word of God? Or are we going to let history, culture, and experience determine how we interpret the Word of God? That’s really an important question!
Does the Bible tell us how to interpret our experience and how to interpret our culture? Or does the culture dominate the Scripture? That’s what’s happening today: people are interpreting the Bible. And this has been going on since the late 1700s and early 1800s in a formal way. Because once you’ve denied that the Bible is the objective, revealed Word of God, then it’s just like any other book. So, we can come up with our own things to add to it—either from reason, or experience, or from mysticism. And that’s what’s happened in the charismatic movement.
In pagan religions … And I have said this for years. Charismatic Christianity is a major compromise with mysticism and paganism! The reason is that they are interpreting the Bible on the basis of pagan ideas. If you study the pagan religions, they had gods and goddesses that were limited to specific geographical areas. You have river gods.
In fact, we’re going to see this when we get to 1 Kings 22—that this was the idea of Ahab and it’s the idea of the Syrians—that the God of the Jews is just a territorial God. We’ll see how that plays out there. But when we look at this passage, which is used by them—there’s not much said here—as a proof text for their views on territorial spirits. These spirits are not territorial! They’re national!
Because where’s Daniel? Is he in the territory of Israel? No. He’s in Babylon. Look at the prince of Greece and the prince of Persia; they are over those people—those nations—in their empires. Even when the Greek empire is spreading, they don’t say, “Well, you’ve gone beyond the boundaries. So, we can’t influence you now. You’re out there, and you’ve gone too far.” That doesn’t happen.
So, what the Bible says is that these are national—or empire—spirits. They are related to these people groups and not restricted to territory. So, the whole idea undergirding territorial spirits just comes right out of paganism, and it doesn’t come out of the Bible. But people will be deceived by it because it sounds almost like what the Bible is saying! That’s why you have to pay attention—closely—to the details of the Scripture. So, there’s absolutely no scriptural basis for the idea of “territorial” spirits. That is just pure paganism.
We come to this first passage in Daniel 10:13, where this angel who has appeared to Daniel (who is probably Gabriel) comes to him. And Daniel says, in verse 10, “Suddenly, a hand touched me, which made me tremble on my knees and on the palms of my hands. 11 And he said to me, ‘O Daniel, man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you.’ While he was speaking this word to me, I stood trembling.
12 “Then he said to me, ‘Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words.’ ”
So, Daniel began to pray. What’s he praying about? He wants to understand God’s plan for Israel. He wants to understand that! Daniel is not trying to take dominion over the king of Persia, the prince of Persia, the prince of Greece—at all. He doesn’t even know they exist! Until this angel shows up and begins to describe to him, in verse 13, what happened when “… the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days …” That’s that period where Daniel is fasting.
Daniel has no idea of what’s going on behind the curtain. He has no idea that there is this struggle, this battle between the angels. So, he’s not praying about that. But that’s what the charismatics will say, “He’s praying. See, we have to pray to take dominion over these territorial spirits. And you have to know their names.” That, again, is a pagan idea. “And you have to claim your victory over them.” And all of this nonsense! Books are written about this! And if you go to TBN—and I don’t suggest that—you just get loaded with this kind of stuff! And it goes out all over the world! And it’s just nuts!! It’s just crazy!!!
So, the prince of the kingdom of Persia is this national demon that is assigned to Persia, and he is trying to prevent Gabriel from bringing the message to Daniel that is a revelatory message about God’s plan for Israel. “… and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia.”
Now, this is an interesting phrase here. The New International Version translates this, “… because I was detained there with the king of Persia.” That’s a different idea. “I was detained there,” or “I was left alone.” Those are very different ideas. The Hebrew word that we find here is a word that simply has the basic meaning of “to stay or to remain.” So, it should be translated along the idea, “I had been left to remain there with the kings of Persia.”
The King James Version translates it as, “… I remained there with the kings of Persia.” And that it’s the idea that Gabriel stayed with the king of Persia. And here the king of Persia is going to be the human king, which was either Cyrus or Cambyses. Gabriel is overseeing this because he is influencing the king of Persia in favor of Israel because Cyrus and Cambyses went back and forth in their views against Israel.
One of my favorite commentators from a previous generation is Leon Wood. He’s written commentaries on Judges. He wrote an Old Testament introduction that was quite good. And he writes about this, “The Word …” that is, the word “to remain behind,” this Hebrew word YATHAR, “… carries the thought of being left in a position of preeminence.” So, he’s not merely abandoned there; he’s not there because he’s fighting this battle. He is left there because he’s won the battle. He has defeated these national spirits over Persia. It’s important to get the translation right, or you get a completely confusing idea.
In Daniel 10:18 Daniel says, “Then again, the one having the likeness of a man touched me and strengthened me. 19 And he said, ‘O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you; be strong, yes, be strong!’ ” In other words, you’re not to be concerned and focused on what might be happening behind the curtain. See, that’s what happens when you get confused on this angelic material. You start thinking, “Well, what are the demons doing? What are the angels doing? I need to know more about it!”
I mentioned this the other night. There was this guy Frank Peretti who wrote a couple of books, This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness. He had in this book the idea that there is this battle going on between the holy angels and the evil angels, and the more we pray, the more it strengthens the holy angels. And if we don’t pray, then they are weakened. It goes back and forth, depending on … you know, it’s like Tinkerbell and everybody clapping if you believe in fairies—and finally Tinkerbell comes back to life.
What people didn’t realize is that is what was taught as standard doctrine in charismatic churches—and in one branch of the Assembly of God. That is one reason Tommy and I wrote … I actually wrote an article against the book, and then that was what was turned into the book on Spiritual Warfare.
The strength comes not from prayer. In fact, the strength here comes from the angel to Daniel, strengthening him. It’s not about Daniel’s praying that strengthens this angel. Daniel says, “… So when he spoke to me I was strengthened, and said, ‘Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.’ 20 Then he said, ‘Do you know why I have come to you? And now I must return to fight with the prince of Persia …’ ” Notice the difference between the king of Persia, back in Daniel 10:13 and now the prince of Persia, who is the national demon associated with Persia.
And he says, “… and when I have gone forth, indeed the prince of Greece will come.” So, these are related to the leaders who oversee the demonic group that is influencing these particular nations. We have the same thing going on in our world today. Nothing has changed—other than Christ has disarmed them. Now, I still haven’t quite figured out exactly how that happens; except they are defeated at the Cross, but they are still active. As Hal Lindsey put it in the title of his book—which was a great title—but he has some screwy ideas in the middle of the book—Satan is Alive and Well on Planet Earth. And that is true.
In Daniel 10:21 the angel is still speaking to Daniel and says, “But I will tell you what is noted in the Scripture of Truth. (No one upholds me against these, except Michael your prince ...” What is happening here is that he’s talking about Scripture and that Scripture is the ultimate authority—not experience or these other things.
1. What we find throughout this section in reference to these leaders is the phrase sar, which is sometimes translated “prince,” sometimes “chief,” and applied to both humans as well as to angels. There are various passages that use it in each way. Even in Daniel—sometimes it refers to the human leader and sometimes that word refers to the angels. That’s important because there are a lot of people out there who try to minimize any kind of supernatural activity that we have in Scripture.
What we see in our modern context is these people trying to rebuke the devil and rebuke Satan. This is what they think you have to do in order to have exorcism. And as we point out in the Spiritual Warfare book, there are no mandates in Scripture to do that whatsoever.
In fact, just the opposite. In Jude 9–11, Jude says that even when Michael the Archangel is contending with the devil over the body of Moses ... Remember, Moses went up on Mount Nebo and there he died. It doesn’t say anything about this in the Old Testament, but it’s revealed here in Jude 9, there is this fight between the devil and Michael over the body of Moses.
I’m not sure what that was all about, but we know that it happened. And not even Michael tries to take dominion over Satan. He says, “The Lord rebuke you!” He recognizes who the authorities are. So, Jude applies that to these false teachers of today who “… speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves.” They are arrogant in the way they try to revile Satan and these demons.
Now I want to look at 1 Kings 22 and get another look. But on the way I want to just mention a couple of other passages. One of them is in Job 1 and Job 2. So, turn in your Bibles to Job 1. We see this picture of how God uses the demons, or the evil fallen angels, to accomplish His purposes. That doesn’t make God complicit in their evil because they want to do that. It’s their volition—they want to do that. But God controls it; He limits it.
One of the things we see is that neither Satan nor the demons can do one thing that they don’t have to get permission from God to do. They just can’t go out and do whatever they want to do. One example of this is in 1 Samuel 16:14, “But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul …” This is after Saul’s disobedience when the kingdom is taken from him and Samuel tells him that the sin of disobedience is like the sin of witchcraft. He has disobeyed and rebelled against God, and so God takes the Holy Spirit from him.
Now, He didn’t indwell Saul like we’re indwelt today, but it was an empowering or an enduement that was related to leadership skill, ability, that kind of a thing. So the Spirit of the Lord departs, and God sends a distressing spirit to trouble him. God is using a demon to accomplish the discipline on Saul. So that gives you the narrow perspective in one verse. 1 Kings 22 is going to tell us some more about that.
The next verse I want to go to to give our background is in Job. Turn to Job 1:7. This is again one of those scenes—we’ve covered it many times—where we get a picture of what is going on in the heavens. We have seen how Job has all of this suffering that comes into his life. He has no idea what’s going on in the heavens. He doesn’t know that that the events in verses 6–12 are taking place.
All Job knows is that he gets this message one day that his sons and daughters are having a party. And then they there’s this attack from the Sabeans and they kill the servants. And then a fire from God—some sort of fire from heaven—comes down—probably lightning—and kills all of the servants. It burns up the sheep and the servants and consumes them. Then there’s an attack by the Chaldeans who raid them. All of these things happen.
In a heartbeat, Job loses most of his possessions and all of his children, but he has no idea that something is happening behind the scenes. That’s what we see here in verse 7, “And the Lord said to Satan …”
We see, in verse 6, the scene set. “Now there was a day when the sons of God [the bene ha ’elohim or bene ’elim—all those various terms relate to these sons of God] came to present themselves before Yahweh, and Satan—the accuser—also came among them.” So, we see that Satan still has access to Heaven.
As I pointed out last time, he is not kicked out of Heaven; he still has access to Heaven. And there is this event that takes place in this convocation or divine assembly. This is what we see in Psalm 82:1.
“And the Lord said to Satan …” Now, I want you to pay attention to this. This is really interesting. God doesn’t tell Satan what to do. God just asks questions. Isn’t that interesting? Think about what happens when Jesus is on the earth. He asks a lot of questions. Here, God is asking questions. And those questions are going to move Satan and the fallen angels to act in a certain direction.
God asks this question of Satan. “And the Lord said to Satan, ‘From where do you come?’ So Satan answered the Lord and said, ‘From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.’ ” Satan goes back and forth from the heavens to the earth. This is very much like’s 1 Peter 5:8, “… your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” Satan is still doing that. He is just cruising the earth, looking for Christians.
It’s not just Satan. It represents all of those who are his angels. Just like we would talk about the fact that Eisenhower attacked the Nazis on D-Day at Normandy. Well, Eisenhower wasn’t even there! But all of his troops were. We have these figures of speech where we talk about them just in terms of the leaders.
So, Satan has all of his demons out because he is not omnipresent. He’s not omniscient. He is not omnipotent; he’s limited. So he’s going down on the earth, seeing what damage he can do. Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you thought about my servant Job? Have you paid attention to him?”
“Then the Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth …” I want you to notice—again and again and again in these first two chapters of Job—that God repeats this, that Job is “a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil.” He is not saying that Job is perfect. He is saying, “Job is a mature believer who walks with Me, and I want you to watch his life.”
But Satan says, “Well, there’s a reason why Job obeys you. Does Job fear You for nothing? No! He fears You because You’re so good to him! You’ve blessed him!” He’s the richest guy on the planet at that time. Job’s got all these camels and flocks and sheep. He’s got all of these animals, all of these servants; he is the wealthiest guy. “Of course. You’ve put this hedge around him—You’ve protected him and his household—and around everything that he has.”
“ ‘You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.’ ” Then Satan says, “ ‘But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!’ ”
God, then, at that point, in Job 1:12, says to Satan, “ ‘Behold, all that he has is in your power …” This is God giving Satan permission to attack Job in one way or another. But God limits him. He says, “ ‘… only do not lay a hand on his person.’ ” So Satan has got permission from God. He can’t do anything unless God gives him permission to do something. “So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.” That’s scene one, the heavenly scene.
Then there’s the earthly scene that describes all the things that happen. And, of course, Job has no idea of anything other than they just had a bad weather day and at the same time they get attacked by these marauding armies from these neighboring countries. But Job passes the test, and in Job 1:22 we’re told, “In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.”
Job doesn’t say, “God, this is Your fault. What in the world is going on with You? I’m mad at You!” He doesn’t do any of those things.
Then Job 2 begins, “Again there was a day—sometime later—when the sons of God—all of the angels—holy and fallen—came to present themselves before the Lord—this is the divine assembly—and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord. 2 And the Lord said to Satan, ‘From where do you come?’ ”
It’s like a repeat of what we’ve already seen. “Satan answered the LORD and said, ‘From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.’ ”
“Then the LORD said to Satan, ‘Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause.’ ” Now, this is really interesting because God is the One ultimately in charge, but He’s not the morally responsible one for what happened to Job—Satan did it. But nothing happens in God’s universe that God doesn’t allow through His permissive will, because He has a plan; He’s working things out according to His plan and His purpose.
What we read, then, in the next verse is, “So Satan answered the Lord and said, ‘Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. 5 But stretch out Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh—his health—and he will surely curse You to Your face!’ ”
So the Lord gives him permission … 6 “And the Lord said to Satan, ‘Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life—you can’t take his life.’ ”
So this is the scene we see here. We draw certain conclusions from this—which I’ve been stating all along—that Satan can’t do anything without God’s permission. But God sort of manipulates him to do certain things by asking certain questions. Because God is demonstrating something. He wants to demonstrate the integrity of Job, and the only way that’s going to be demonstrated is for Job to go through some serious adversity and not curse God—and not blame God—and not react to God in anger.
Now, he finally gets a little bit peevish with God towards the end of the book and wants to have a face-to-face talk with God to get an answer as to why all of these things happened. And all God does is what? Ask him a lot of questions!
God asks a lot of questions! They’re to get people to think. What it gets Job thinking about is: he doesn’t know the answer to any of the questions. So what God is pointing out is that, “If you can’t answer these questions, then if I were to answer your questions as to why I let this happen, you couldn’t understand it. You just have to trust Me!”
That takes us back to a statement, Job makes earlier in the book that, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” (Job 13:15a) We don’t know what God is doing, we don’t see behind the curtain, we don’t understand what’s going on, but God is working out His plans and purposes. Someday, perhaps, we will have a better understanding of what God is doing.
With all of that by way of an introduction, now turn to 1 Kings 22. It’s the last chapter in 1 Kings and comes right before the beginning of 2 Kings. It’s a situation that takes place in the Northern Kingdom. There is a situation that has taken place. Aram is Syria. The translation here in 1 Kings uses the phrase for Syria, but it’s Aram.
Here’s the Sea of Galilee. These are the Golan Heights here, which is the area of Bashan. Up here you have Damascus. This is Mount Hermon. From the border of Israel, which is right here at the base of Mount Hermon, to Damascus is only 40 miles. So that’s how close it is.
What has happened? In the past there have been these border clashes and fights between the Syrians and the Israelis—ancient Israelis. (Some things haven’t changed a whole lot.) And they’ve captured this territory down here (red circle). But about three years before—this is covered back in 1 Kings 20—Ahab defeated them at the Battle of Aphek.
Now, this is not the Aphek that we studied in 1 Samuel chapters 3, 4, 5, and 6. There are a couple of battles of Aphek there. That’s an Aphek that is down here.
This is another Aphek. We don’t know where it was, but it’s up in this area. There are several names that are used for several different towns throughout ancient Israel. So the Syrians had captured this territory here. This is part of the tribe of Gad. This is in what is called the Transjordan—the area across the Jordan.
The Syrians still have control. And after Ahab defeated them in 1 Kings 20, there was a peace treaty and the Syrians were supposed to give this territory back to Israel, but they hadn’t done it yet. So, Ahab decides that it’s time to go to war, but he knows that he doesn’t have the troops to do it. Back in 1 Kings 20, God gave them the victory. The picture there is they come to do battle with the Syrians, and the Syrians are covering this whole plain. The text says that Ahab split his forces and they looked like “two little flocks of sheep.” So they are terribly outnumbered.
But God sends a prophet to Ahab who says, “God is going to give you victory, not because of you, but because God wants to demonstrate that He is greater than the god of the Syrians.” It’s in that chapter that the Syrians say, “Your God is just a God of the of the mountains down there. But our god is the god of the plains, and so we can defeat Him.” See that’s that pagan idea of a territorial deity in terms of these gods.
So now, in 1 Kings 22, Ahab gets this idea that he’s going to go to battle. He knows he can’t do it on his own, so he tries to enlist the aid of the king of Judah, the Southern Kingdom, whose name is Jehoshaphat.
Jehoshaphat is one of the good kings in the south. He is a godly man, he serves the Lord, and he is willing to go to battle because he understands that this territory over here on the Transjordan and Ramoth—which is in the territory of Gilead … It’s called Ramoth-Gilead, which means Ramoth of Gilead. That’s like Houston, Texas—Houston in Texas, not Houston in Pennsylvania.
So you have this situation. They get together, and they’re going to make their war plans. Because Jehoshaphat knows that Ramoth-Gilead belongs to Israel—was given to Israel by God—he is willing to go along with Ahab and to take back this territory for Israel. But Jehoshaphat wants to ask God’s blessing and guidance on this before he fully commits to it.
So in 1 Kings 22:5 Jehoshaphat says to Ahab, the King of Israel, “ ‘Please inquire for the word of the Lord today.’ ” So, Ahab, who is not a believer and is hostile to the God of the Bible, calls his prophets together. Remember, this is the same guy who was king earlier in 1 Kings 17, 18, 19, and 20 when Elijah is the prophet. Ahab was pursuing Elijah because Elijah put them under the fourth divine institution—where there’s no rain, there’s a drought, and the economy is going bad. So Ahab wanted to kill Elijah.
They have the whole encounter up on Mount Carmel. So Ahab doesn’t have—these are not godly prophets. They are not the priests of Baal; they’re just false prophets. So that takes us back to our study in 2 Peter 2:1, that the people in the Old Testament had to deal with false prophets but false teachers will come to the church.
He gets all these prophets; there are about 400 of them. Now, this is a big scene. This is a lot of pomp and circumstance. They have the two kings there. All the false prophets are going to come out in all their fine garments. So Ahab asks, “ ‘Shall I go against Ramoth Gilead to fight, or shall I refrain?’ ”
And they all said … It kind of reminds me of the mainstream media today. They are in their own echo chamber. They all repeat the same stories and the same things. They all get along together, and they don’t pay any attention to anything other than what they’ve made up. And that’s the way these guys are.
So Ahab asked if they should go up and fight. “So they said, ‘Go up, for the Lord will deliver it into the hand of the king.’ ” But Jehoshaphat smells a rat and says, “Isn’t there still a prophet of Yahweh here?” So he spotted them as false prophets. He said, “ ‘Is there not still a prophet of the Lord here, that we may inquire of Him?’ ”
“So the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘There is still one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the Lord; but I hate him…’ ” Ahab just hates God—hates anybody who represents God—and he hates him “ ‘… because he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.’ ” So, Ahab has totally lost his perspective because he is in rebellion against God.
So they bring out Micaiah and they have, again, another scenario with all the pomp and circumstance. In 1 Kings 22:10 Jehoshaphat and Ahab put on their regal robes, their garments; they sit on their thrones. They are at a threshing floor, which is a higher spot, as we’ve seen when we studied the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. They get all of their armies and everything—they make this a fabulous event—and they bring out these 400 false prophets.
The leader of them seems to be this guy named Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah. He has made these horns out of iron, and he’s going to dramatize the whole thing. He comes out and makes this prophecy that “the Lord is going to gore the Syrians with us like horns until they’re destroyed.” And all the prophets echoed him; the mainstream media then is all in their own echo chamber.
Then, in 1 Kings 22:13, the messenger who called out Micaiah—who brought him there—says, “ ‘Now listen, the words of the prophets with one accord encourage the king.’ ” So Micaiah … dripping with sarcasm … Now, he’s probably not being disrespectful in his voice, but it’s all sarcasm. And he says, “ ‘As the Lord lives, whatever the Lord says to me, that I will speak.’ ” He is only going to speak for the Lord.
Then he comes to the king, and the king says, “Micaiah, should we go to war?” And Micaiah says, “ ‘Go and prosper, for the Lord will deliver it into the hand of the king!’ ” Now, Ahab realizes he’s being taken here—he hears the sarcasm—and he says, “ ‘How many times shall I make you swear that you tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?’ ” There’s a little glimmer of reality there for Ahab.
Then Micaiah describes what happens—that Israel’s going to be scattered on the mountains like sheep without a shepherd. “You’re going to die. You’re not going to be leading the troops anymore, and they will all return to their homes.” So Ahab gets angry and turns to Jehoshaphat and says, “I told you he wouldn’t say anything good about me—just evil!”
Then Micaiah speaks in 1 Kings 22:19, and he has this vision. This is what we’re getting at, but you have to have the background for it. He sees the Lord in Heaven. This is a scene somewhat reminiscent of Isaiah’s vision when he is in the presence of the Lord. So he sees the Lord sitting on His throne.
It’s like Psalm 82. Elohim takes His place in the assembly of El. The Lord is there in front of the host of Heaven. That’s all of the angels—holy angels, elect angels; fallen angels, demons—they are all there. “And the Lord said …” Notice the same thing: He’s asking questions. He doesn’t say, “Well, this is what I want to do.” He says, “ ‘ “Who will persuade Ahab to go up, that he may fall at Ramoth Gilead?” ’ ”
Now look at what happens. This just gives us a little tiny glimpse of what happens in Heaven. First, there’s one fallen angel who comes up, and all the text says is, “So one spoke in this manner ...” So, he comes up with plan A. God looks at him, “No.” “… and another spoke in that manner.” God says, “No.”
Then we get the third one. He comes up with plan C and says, “I will persuade him.” And so the Lord asked for details. “ ‘The Lord said to him, “In what way?” So he said, “I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.” ’ ” So one lying demon can speak through all these false prophets.
“ ‘So he said, “I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.” And the Lord saidְ—gave him permission—“You shall persuade him, and also prevail. Go out and do so.” ’ ” We see that it’s not just a single scenario. You have these demons who are presenting alternate plans. God gives the permission. Because God, in His omniscience, knows which one is going to accomplish the end result for what He wants to have accomplished. So He says, “Okay. You go and do so.”
Then we get the conclusion to this where Micaiah says, “Therefore look! The Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these prophets of yours, and the Lord has declared disaster against you.” Now Zedekiah gets mad at him and strikes him on the cheek, and then he gets real sarcastic and says, “The Spirit left me and went to you? What’s going on here?” “And Micaiah said, ‘Indeed, you shall see on that day when you go into an inner chamber to hide!’ ” In other words, “You’re going to see the defeat, and then you’re going to run and you’re going to hide inside your pagan temple.” Ahab eventually gets killed in the battle.
But the point that I want to make here is that in the passage that we saw in 1 Samuel 16, Job 1, Job 2, and in 1 Kings 22, we see this same scenario of Heaven, where you have this assembly of the angels—the fallen angels and the elect angels—before the throne of God. And you see the interesting thing that God uses questions to sort of direct things the way He wants them to go.
But what we learn from all of this is that these demons and Satan cannot do anything unless God gives them permission. He has to give him permission because ultimately, He is the sovereign Who is in charge of the outworking of His plan on planet Earth. He’s the Creator of all things. Nothing can happen outside of His permission.
That’s a very important thing to understand when we recognize that there are things that are going on in the spiritual realm that we don’t understand. We don’t understand them. We can’t see them. We can’t speculate on them—other than to say that we know that the demons are alive and well and they are influencing, by God’s permission, the direction of history.
When we see people succumbing to deception and lies and you look at people and say, “Why can’t you see the truth?” It is because they have been blinded by their own sinfulness, and this is being enhanced by the deceptiveness of the demons to accomplish a purpose that we are unaware of. Our job is to be like Daniel: to focus on our spiritual life, to focus on God’s plan for us, and to follow that and not get distracted by all of the chatter that’s out there that is just a distraction to our own spiritual growth and our own spiritual life.
So this opens the door to what’s going on. Eventually God is going to judge all of these angels, and He is going to judge Satan. And on that day, we’re going to sing praises to God for having brought everything to its proper conclusion. That ends this part of the angelic revolt study in terms of the divine assembly, but we need to come back and find out how all of this started.
Then we’re going to connect the dots. Because we saw in Daniel the use of the phrase “the prince of Persia” and Michael referred to as the “chief prince”; in the Septuagint those words are translated by the word ARCHE and ARCHON. These are the same words that show up when Paul is talking about the principalities and the powers that deal with the hierarchy, the authoritative structure, within the angels.
We’re going to look at the fall of Satan, how all this got started, what the human race and human history has to do with that fall, and then how that is to relate to our thinking when we are to be witnesses, we’re to manifest God’s grace before the principalities and the powers, which is where we ended in Ephesians 3:10. So that brings it all together, ties it in with what’s going on in 2 Peter.
Sunday we’ll talk about the fall of Satan. Next Thursday night we’ll come back and start to connect the Old Testament revelation into the New Testament revelation.
“Father, thank You for this opportunity to study Your Word, to understand that there is true evil in the world, that this evil is being energized by Satan and the fallen angels. But our job is not to identify them or to worry about them or anything because as we’ve read in Ephesians 6, we are to stand firm. We’re to focus on our spiritual life.
“We are to stand firm in a defensive posture and let You take care of the things that we can’t see because it’s an invisible war. It is a war where we have no idea what the enemy is doing, and we need to trust You to take care of us, to protect us, and to provide for us so that we can carry out our mission as those who are witnesses in this great trial of Satan and the fallen angels. Help us to understand these things. We pray in Christ’s name. Amen.”