Only three angels are mentioned by name in Hebrew-Christian Scripture: Michael, Gabriel
and "Lucifer, son of the morning" (Isaiah 14:12) -- in Hebrew, Helel
ben-Shachar, "Shining One, Son of Dawn". (Lucifer in the Latin Vulgate version, like Helel in the Hebrew Masoretic Text and
in the Greek Septuagint version, is simply an epithet for the "morning star" -- what we know today as
the planet Venus.) Of these, Michael is called "one of the chief princes" (Daniel 10:13) and "the
archangel" or chief angel (Jude 9). Gabriel, for his part, stands in the presence of God, implying he has
a very high office (Luke 1:19). He is also entrusted with messages of very great import (Luke 1:19, 26-27; Daniel
Likewise, there are only three "covering cherubim" mentioned in Scripture:
the two on the Ark of the Covenant, and "the King of Tyre" mentioned in Ezekiel 28:11-17 (leaving aside
the human antitype mentioned in verses 18 and 19). It is logical to infer that the two "covering cherubim"
on the Ark represent Michael and Gabriel, and that the "covering cherub" mentioned in Ezekiel 28 is the
same as "Lucifer" in Isaiah 14.
Here is most of Ezekiel 28:12-17, describing this last "covering cherub":
"You were the seal of perfection,
Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
You were in Eden, the garden of God;
Every precious stone was your covering:
The sardius, topaz, and diamond,
Beryl, onyx, and jasper,
Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold.
The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes
Was prepared for you on the day you were created.
"You were the anointed cherub who covers;
I established you;
You were on the holy mountain of God;
You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones.
You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created,
Till iniquity was found in you.
"By the abundance of your trading
You became filled with violence within,
And you sinned;
Therefore I cast you as a profane thing
Out of the mountain of God;
And I destroyed you, O covering cherub,
From the midst of the fiery stones.
"Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty;
You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor;
I cast you to the ground,
I laid you before kings,
That they might gaze at you."
The fate of this being is very similar to that described for the "King of Babylon"
in Isaiah 14:12-15:
"How you are fallen from heaven,
O Lucifer, son of the morning!
How you are cut down to the ground,
You who weakened the nations!
For you have said in your heart:
"I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;
I will also sit on the mount of the congregation
On the farthest sides of the north;
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,
I will be like the Most High.'
Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol,
To the lowest depths of the Pit."
In both passages, beings which can only be supernatural are described in conjunction
with beings which can only be natural (and human). Obviously, some kind of typology is involved. How can this be, and where does the type end and the antitype begin? A clue lies
in Daniel 8:9-11:
And out of one of them came a little horn which grew exceedingly great toward the
south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land. And it grew up to the
host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground, and trampled them. He even exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host; and by him the daily sacrifices
were taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down.
Gabriel interprets this vision in verses 23-25:
"And in the latter time of their kingdom,
When the transgressors have reached their fullness,
A king shall arise,
Having fierce features,
Who understands sinister schemes.
His power shall be mighty, but not by his own power;
He shall destroy fearfully,
And shall prosper and thrive;
He shall destroy the mighty, and also the holy people.
"Through his cunning
He shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule;
And he shall exalt himself in his heart.
He shall destroy many in their prosperity.
He shall even rise against the Prince of princes;
But he shall be broken without human means."
Yet some of the description Gabriel interprets cannot literally apply to a human being! The same is true of the descriptions of "the King of Babylon"
in Isaiah 14 and "the King of Tyre" in Ezekiel 28. On the other hand, some parts of the descriptions
of these two and "the Little Horn" cannot apply literally to a "covering cherub". Angels cannot die (cf. Luke 20:36), yet these three in some sense will die (see the contexts in Isaiah, Ezekiel and Daniel, especially Ezekiel 28:18-19).
This then is the answer: "the King of Tyre", "the King of Babylon"
and this "Little Horn" all refer to the same human being -- the end-time political leader that Revelation
13 calls "the Beast", to whom "the Dragon" (that is, Satan the Devil: Revelation 12:9) gives
"his power, his throne, and great authority" (13:3). But they also refer to the spiritual "power
behind the throne" -- that is, Satan himself. If the human leader "exalts himself in his heart"
beyond all rational levels, it can only be because Satan himself works through or even posesses him, and the human leader's figurative thinking actually reflects Satan's own literal intent.
Thus Satan and the human leader may be described alternately in the same contexts.
Notice that just as "the King of Babylon" ascends to heaven to challenge
the Most High God (and the "Little Horn" rises up against "the Prince of the host"), so Satan
the Devil ascends to heaven to fight against God's servant Michael. (In Revelation 12:7 and Jude 9, we see that
Satan and Michael are peers of a sort,
confirming they are in the same class of being.) Likewise, as the "Little Horn" casts down "some
of the host and some of the stars", so does Satan (Revelation 12:3).
Finally, Satan the Devil "was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand
in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he
is a liar and the father of it" (John 8:44). This could hardly be any other being than the one also called
"the King of Babylon", "the King of Tyre" and "the Little Horn" in supernatural type.
Imagine it! A covering cherub -- from all indications, one of the three greatest created
beings in the Universe -- became "that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole
world" (Revelation 12:9). As in his original rebellion with one-third of the angels (verse 3), so in the vision
of a time yet future, "he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him" (verse 9).
Why did this happen?
Herbert W. Armstrong, in his latter years, spent much time exploring this question.
He noted that God created angels long before He created man. Let us review the biblical "prehistory"
Mr. Armstrong reconstructed, which I will state in my own words.
Originally, Lucifer and those angels under him were given charge of the earth. From
the day he was created, Lucifer was "perfect in all his ways" -- that is, perfect in moral character.
Yet Lucifer's eventual infatuation with "materialistic" values -- beauty especially, but also wealth
and trade -- corrupted his wisdom (Ezekiel 28:16-17; cf. Jeremiah 9:23-24). He and his followers became filled
with violence instead of love, and chose the way of competition rather than cooperation,
selfishness rather than support, and rebellion
rather than submission to direction. This naturally led to their transgression of the moral principles (justice,
mercy and faith) of "God's government" as those principles applied to them.
The rebellion of Lucifer and his followers (as Mr. Armstrong concluded) proved that
only beings with God's own nature could be trusted never to sin (that is, to rebel against "God's government").
Thus, God proposed to "reproduce Himself through humanity" -- to spiritually beget full Sons of God who
could share creation with the One who would become God the Father and the One who would become Jesus the Messiah.
Yet "God, who cannot lie, promised before time began" that eternal life
would be offered to man (Titus 1:2). Before "time" from man's perspective began, a major catastrophe
occurred in Creation. The earth literally "had become chaotic and disordered" (Genesis 1:2, author's translation).
This change of state from a perfect creation
must surely have been the result of Satan's sin -- a punishment from God that accompanied the former Lucifer's
fall to earth. The phrase tohu vabohu
("chaotic and disordered") found in Genesis 1:2 refers to destruction as punishment for sin wherever else it is found (Jeremiah 4:23; Isaiah 34:1; cf. 2 Kings 21:13).
Therefore, it must have been before God said, "Let there be light", thus beginning "time" from
man's perspective (Genesis 1:3-5), that the promise of eternal life to man was made.
Now consider: One of the three covering cherubim that the Bible mentions had rebelled,
and his angels with him. As Mr. Armstrong perceived, that meant only full Sons of God could be counted on never
to sin for all eternity. Therefore, a means had to be worked out to "bring many sons to glory" (cf. Hebrews
2:10). For the rest of the angels to remain faithful, they had to be involved in the process. Thus the righteous
angels "set their character" (to use Mr. Armstrong's term) and became "ministering spirits sent
forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation" (Hebrews 1:14). As an added guarantee,
those angels who rebelled against "God's government" were permitted to bear the consequences of their
rebellion, as a perpetual, living example
to those who might think of following in their footsteps.
The symbolism of the Ark of the Covenant summarizes this whole marvelous plan, from
the point of view of government. Mr. Armstrong
rightly said that "God's government" must be restored over the whole earth, thanks to Lucifer's rebellion.
No surprise, then, that the "covering cherubim" (representing Michael and Gabriel) are in a bowed posture
on the Ark. In submission to God and each other through looking to God's justice, mercy and promises toward man,
they have made their choice to love God, each other and humanity, in anticipation of the restoration of "God's
government" on the earth. This is the choice that Lucifer and his angels rejected --
at their own terrible expense
(Revelation 20:10; "they" refers to the Devil and his angels in that passage).
Notice one more thing: Part of the very moral foundation of God's throne and "government"
(as symbolized by the Ark) is the command to keep the Sabbath day holy. The Sabbath is a particularly "earthbound" institution, one tied to earthly timekeeping.
It was created (as it were) by God resting after six days of renewing the earth after its catastrophic change of
state. The fact that the Sabbath is included in the symbolism of the Ark indicates that the Ark represents a covenant made at creation -- at "the foundation of
the world", when the promises of the sacrifice of the Lamb of God (cf. Revelation 13:8) and the calling of
God's children out of this world (cf. Revelation 17:8) were made.
Thus the Sabbath points not only to God as Creator, but also to God as Redeemer.
As it is written, "There remains therefore a rest [sabbath rest -- in Greek, sabbatismos] for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works
as God did from His" (Hebrews 4:9-10). When that "rest" finally comes which the Sabbath typifies
-- the Millennium (Revelation 20:4-6) -- the LORD (in the person of the Messiah) and His saints shall establish
His Kingdom and Government on earth (as numerous verses show).
Meanwhile, humanity is transgressing the "eternal covenant" represented
by the Ark, and Creation suffers accordingly (Isaiah 24:4-5). This "eternal covenant" (as founded on
the Ten Commandments) is the basis not only of the Old Covenant, but of the New Covenant as well (cf. Jeremiah
When God finally brings this sinning world to account, He will show a sign in heaven:
not the cross of Messiah, but the Ark of the Covenant (Revelation 11:19). The "word
of the cross", as important as it is (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:18), points to but one part of the plan of salvation
and of "God's government". The Ark of the Covenant points to the complete picture: how "God's government"
was lost on earth, how it will be restored, and how humanity will be saved thereby as Sons of God. ###