(I am borrowing this title from a blog post I read years ago, and which I cannot now find, as I consider it the best description I ever heard about the false teachings and the mythology of fallen angels.)
In Part I of this series we saw how the spirits we are to test are the words and ideas of men.
“Beloved, every spirit believe not, but prove the spirits, if of God they are, because many false prophets have gone forth to the world;” (1 John 1:3, YLT)
John contrasted the Spirit of God, or those that confessed that Christ had come in the flesh as having the Spirit of God, against the false prophets in the first century AD who were teaching that Christ had not come in the flesh.
In other words, the words of men, the words of false prophets were set opposite to the words of God, the Spirit of God. And, as the definition of “spirit” is Strong’s Gr. 4151, “pneuma” and means wind, or breath, then the contrast is between the words (Word) of God and the words of men.
As John was warning against the false prophets, then their words were false, their spirits were false.
In the final definition, the Spirit of God is the same as, is equal to the Spirit of Truth, or the Holy Spirit (John 14:17, 15:26; 16:13).
“we — of God we are; he who is knowing God doth hear us; he who is not of God, doth not hear us; from this we know the spirit of the truth, and the spirit of the error.” (1 John 4:6, YLT)
The spirit of error, the spirit of the false prophets, or the words of men sent to infiltrate and turn away other men from God’s word. Please reread Part I of this series again to refresh the idea.
We have a situation today in which the spirit of error, false teaching has permeated the teachings of God’s word. Men have tried to mesh false ideas or pagan beliefs with that of the Bible. There are debates about the motivations for doing so, and debates about when and how the pagan beliefs were married to Biblical scriptures and became the teachings and traditions of men.
I really don’t want to spend time discussing the pagan gods as they are all false, but it seems beginning with the duality of the Persian belief in two gods, an omniscient god Zoroaster called Ahura and the nature gods that emanated from one evil spirit he called Ahriman, a god of falsehood, that the Jews during the Babylonian captivity latched onto some of this pagan belief system and equated the “good” Persian god with the one true God of the Bible, and the false evil Persian god with that of Satan. This idea results in a two-god system that permeates the traditional teachings of many churches today.
There are many articles you can find about Persian Zoroastrianism such as this one here: https://www.sacred-texts.com/evil/hod/hod07.htm.
During the intertestamental period of about 400 years from Malachi to the preaching of John the Immerser (Baptist) around 25 – 26 AD, the Jews came under pressure from Alexander the Great and then the Seleucid dynasty to conform to Greek society and culture. (1) (2)
Under the influence of polytheism of the Greeks a book emerged from a Jewish rabbi which he titled The Watchers. It is my opinion that this was an attempt to appease the Hellenization efforts of the Seleucid rulers to conform to the worship of Greek pagan gods.
Excerpt from Angels & Demons 1: When Did Angels Fall by Stan Lindsay:
“Interestingly enough, within the literature of the new associates of the Jewish people, the Hellenistic Greeks, there is an abundance of material that, in many ways, closely parallels the various accounts of the Fallen Angel story. Leo Jung explains: “That divine beings, even gods, have sexual intercourse with women was a well-known view, nay, a creed of Hellenistic religion.” We can safely assume that Greek culture had a reasonable effect on the Fallen Angel theme from its very outset. To be sure, many of our sources discussing the Fallen Angels are even written in the Greek language.” (3)
A common link between Persian, Greek, and Roman pagan gods was their easy and continual sexual relations with humans. The so-called book of Enoch is filled with this pagan theology, and is the main source for the idea of fallen angels. Fallen angels are never spoken of in the Bible. Over time these pagan beliefs have been linked with certain scriptures as justification for the idea that some heavenly angels rebelled against God, and were subsequently thrown out of heaven.
One of these links overlays the teaching of Isa. 14 which is completely misrepresented and taken out of context by Jerome in the Vulgate translation where Jerome inserted the name “Lucifer” for the Hebrew words.
“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!” (Isa. 14:12, KJV)
Jerome did not understand the meaning of the Hebrew word “helel” which is translated correctly in Young’s Literal Translation.
“How hast thou fallen from the heavens, O shining one, son of the dawn! Thou hast been cut down to earth, O weakener of nations.”
Isaiah 14 is the prophesy of the fall of the king of Babylon. God was calling the king by a descriptive name, an appellation for the king’s pagan god Ishtar. Ishtar was the morning star, Venus – “O shining one”. The king of Babylon called himself the son of Ishtar, ie. the son of the dawn. Therefore, “O shining one, son of the dawn” equals son of Ishtar.
Keeping this prophesy in context, looking at all of the verses of the chapter we can tell this downfall was pronounced upon a living man, and not some spiritual entity.
“Thy beholders look to thee, to thee they attend, Is this the man causing the earth to tremble, Shaking kingdoms?” (Isa. 14;16, YLT)
God was going to remove the king from his rule and power because of the king’s proud declaration that he was “like to the most High” (vs. 14).
This same pagan overlay is applied again in the translation about the king of Tyre in Ezek. 28.
“13Thou 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.
Again, in Young’s:
13In Eden, the garden of God, thou hast been, Every precious stone thy covering, Ruby, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, Sapphire, emerald, and carbuncle, and gold, The workmanship of thy tabrets, and of thy pipes, In thee in the day of thy being produced, have been prepared.
14Thou [art] an anointed cherub who is covering, And I have set thee in the holy mount, God thou hast been, In the midst of stones of fire thou hast walked up and down. 15Perfect [art] thou in thy ways, From the day of thy being produced, Till perversity hath been found in thee.”
Many want to make this prophesy of the fall of the king of Tyre apply to Satan. But, they are not taking into account the poetic, figurative nature of prophesy. Just as in other prophesies of the down fall of kings and nations, the figurative imagery is superlative and hyperbolic. God is comparing the surroundings and settings of the king of Tyre to the perfection found in His garden, Eden.
Excerpt from Jamieson-Fausset-Brown:
“13. in Eden—The king of Tyre is represented in his former high state (contrasted with his subsequent downfall), under images drawn from the primeval man in Eden, the type of humanity in its most Godlike form.
garden of God—the model of ideal loveliness (Eze 31:8, 9; 36:35). In the person of the king of Tyre a new trial was made of humanity with the greatest earthly advantages. But as in the case of Adam, the good gifts of God were only turned into ministers to pride and self.
every precious stone—so in Eden (Ge 2:12), “gold, bdellium, and the onyx stone.” So the king of Tyre was arrayed in jewel-bespangled robes after the fashion of Oriental monarchs. The nine precious stones here mentioned answer to nine of the twelve (representing the twelve tribes) in the high priest’s breastplate (Ex 39:10-13; Re 21:14, 19-21). Of the four rows of three in each, the third is omitted in the Hebrew, but is supplied in the Septuagint.” (4)
It is not the fall of Satan that is being compared in Ezek. 28, but the fall of Adam.
Excerpt from the Pulpit Commentary:
“Thou hast been in Eden, etc. The words are suggestive, as showing that Ezekiel was familiar with the history of Genesis 2. and 3. (compare the mention of Noah, in Ezekiel 15:14, 20). To him the King of Tyre seemed to claim a position like that of Adam before his fall, perfect in beauty and in wisdom, the lord of the creation. And in that fancied Eden he stood, so he thought, not like Adam, “naked and ashamed,” but like one of the cherubim that guarded the gates of the primeval Paradise…” (4)
It is the influence from pagan polytheistic writings of the 3rd to 1st centuries BC and the 1st and 2nd centuries AD under Greek, and Roman rule that has prompted church “fathers” to apply these false pagan beliefs to the scriptures.
The celestial heavenly “angels” were messengers of God, speaking God’s word to the people. The heavenly messengers brought the spirit of truth to the people.
Satan was not an “angel” but the adversary, the father of lies (John 8:44). The Hebrew word “satan” was not translated, but transliterated. It is not a name, it is an adjective, and means adversary. (5) In certain translations it was capitalized as though it was a proper noun, but the word never appears in Young’s Literal Translation. Young’s does capitalize the Adversary in several places as distinguishing that one entity from any number of adversaries against Israel. (Job 1:6).
There is much more to review, but due to the length required to counter the pagan influence on God’s word, I will continue this discussion in the next part (b) of this Part IV.
1) What Happened in the Intertestamental Period – https://www.gotquestions.org/intertestamental-period.html
2) What Happened Between the Old and the New Testament – https://www.olivetree.com/blog/what-happened-between-old-and-new-testament/
5) Source: https://biblehub.com/hebrew/7854.htm