sermon: Do Angels Live Forever? (Part One)
John W. Ritenbaugh
Given 12-Oct-16; Sermon #1346; 78 minutes
In the symbolism of the two goats on the Day of Atonement, one goat was slain, while the azazel goat (which we have assumed to be Satan), with the sins of the entire nation pronounced on its head, was led into the wilderness. However, some aspects of our previous understanding of what the goats represent may have been wrong. Not one human being, from our parents, Adam and Eve, to ourselves, can escape the responsibility of his own sins; Satan did not make us do anything, unless we willingly cooperated with his temptations. We cannot blame anyone else, including our physical parents, for our shortcomings. Because the azazel goat in the ceremony was allowed to escape, we concluded that Satan (as well as the demonic spirits who followed him) would not die, but would be driven into a perpetual abode of restraint, symbolized by the term "outer darkness." Angels were created to serve as ministering spirits, assisting the Creator well before mankind came on the scene. To be sure, we have no scriptural evidence that an angel has died, but we cannot assume that angels are immortal and share the same kind of spirit God Almighty has. Though angelic beings are currently superior to human beings in intelligence and volition, we cannot assume they are indestructible. Speculation among the splinters of the greater church of God ranges from the thesis that Satan and his demons will live forever in a remote location to its antithesis that Satan and his demons will be utterly annihilated. We need to process some troublesome assumptions: (1) that all spirit is ever-living and impossible to destroy, (2) that God was guilty of lack of judgment in creating something He could not take apart, (3) that angels are not subject to the same principles of judgment with which God judges men.
This day is without a doubt the most solemn of all the holy days partly because of the location of its observance—it is just before the joyous Feast of Tabernacles that follows right on its heels. It is always there to remind us that our sins are mercifully forgiven and covered by the blood of the Lamb, our Creator and Savior, Jesus Christ. This has opened up an awesome future for us that is going to be really something to enjoy.
I discovered something this morning when I started looking at the date. Atonement is the second of the holy days that Evelyn and I first kept whenever we came into the Worldwide Church of God. I decided to look up where all the holy days fell on a combination of the Hebrew calendar and the Roman calendar. I was very pleased, surprised, to find out that when Evelyn and I kept it the very first time it was the twelfth of October, exactly fifty-seven years ago. There was a difference in the day then. It was on a Monday, this time it is on a Wednesday, but it is still the twelfth of October, and still the Day of Atonement.
That occasion was the first time I became aware of all of the ceremonies that surround the Day of Atonement. I have learned a great deal more since then, but at that time it was quite a mystery to me to find out about the azazel goat. We are going to talk about the azazel goat in this sermon and we will do a lot more complete study and article or sermon on it a little later.
Who was that mysterious azazel that had the sins of all of Israel laid upon his head by the high priest? Rather than being killed, as what happened to the other goat who clearly represented our Savior, the azazel goat was taken alive to a distant place by a suitable man and not killed by him but simply let go alive to wander in the wilderness and apparently die a natural death. At that point in the Bible it does not expand any further on azazel, but actually there is a great deal more about what is involved in the azazel. That is what David Grabbe's sermonette and article will explain.
The church of God teaching under Hebert Armstrong has always been that the azazel represented Satan, whose major responsibility in mankind's sins is the ability to deceive mankind into sinning. However, some aspects of that teaching runs headlong into a major misunderstanding and reality error. Once revealed this error is something fairly obvious. It is better for us to that we understand and believe it and it is that God did not accept Adam and Eve's justification for their sins. Eve blamed it on Satan, Adam blamed it on Eve. God did not accept either. He held each of them directly and personally responsible.
Proverbs 1:10-19 My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent. [Did Satan entice Eve? He did.] If they say, “Come with us, let us lie in wait to shed blood; let us lurk secretly for the innocent without cause; let us swallow them alive like Sheol, and whole, like those who go down to the Pit [A group of men co-conspirators, could be women too, who want to take it away from somebody else and gain a great reward for what they do.]; we shall find all kinds of precious possessions, we shall fill our houses with spoil; cast in your lot among us, let us all have one purse”—My son, do not walk in the way with them, keep your foot from their path; for their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed blood. Surely, in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird; but they lie in wait for their own blood, they lurk secretly for their own lives. So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain; it takes away the life of its owners.
Here is a major basic truth. We are not to follow anybody, including Satan, into sin. Satan does not make us sin. Everybody is responsible for his own sins, so how can Satan be held responsible for our sins? Does he play a part in our sins? Absolutely, just the same as these conspirators were doing in trying to attract the young man into sin. If that young man goes along with them it becomes his sin just as much as it was their sin, because he agreed to do it, and he took that responsibility on his own head.
Everybody is responsible for his own sins, so how can Satan be held responsible for our sins? He plays a part in our sins, but we are supposed to resist him and not sin. That is the wisdom.
Ezekiel 18:18-20 “As for his father, because he cruelly oppressed, robbed his brother by violence, and did what is not good among his people, behold, he shall die for his iniquity. Yet you say, ‘Why should the son not bear the guilt of the father?’ Because the son has done what is lawful and right, and has kept all My statutes and observed them, he shall surely live. The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.”
It is easy for a young person in the family to blame what he is on his father. God will not accept that. Did they have a part in shaping the child? Yes, but there comes a time in life when God holds the person responsible and he has to resist sin like everybody else. I ask you a question: Is that to startling to accept? Every person’s sin is on himself. If somebody leads you into sin it is not on them, it is on the person who sins. That is the way God looks at it. There is no such escape from personal responsibility for our committing sin.
All of this plays on the azazel, and the way the Worldwide Church of God taught it. We will see that a little bit more. There is no “the Devil made me do it” justification that God accepts. Satan does not force us into sinning. The truth is we cooperate with him in terms of ignorance.
Leviticus 16:5-10 “And he [Aaron] shall take from the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats as a sin offering, and one ram as a burnt offering. Aaron shall offer the bull as a sin offering, which is for himself, and make atonement for himself and for his house. He shall take the two goats and present them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. Then Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats: one lot for the Lord and the other for the scapegoat. And Aaron shall bring the goat on which the Lord's lot fell, and offer it as a sin offering. But the goat on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make atonement upon it, and to let it go as the scapegoat into the wilderness.
There is a second problem at the beginning of this sermon impacting on our understanding of this day that lies within the scapegoat, also called the azazel goat, being left alive just to wander in the wilderness. Is that portion of our understanding correct? There is no doubt that Satan is a sinner, like men he is responsible for those sins that he has committed.
Nobody has a really good accounting of what the word azazel means. There are suggestions as to what it means, that is why sometimes you see in Bibles the word azazel. What the English translators have done is that they changed that word azazel into "scapegoat." That is not too good, because technically in theses modern times, scapegoat is a person or one who is unjustly accused. That is what a scapegoat is. If that other goat, the one on which the lot fell for the azazel goat is Satan, is he being unjustly accused? He is as guilty as anybody ever was! And yet he is alive, he goes into the wilderness, he is not put to death, and he is left to die apparently a natural death.
In the Day of Atonement ceremony of all Israel, the goat upon which the Lord's lot fell had the sins of Israel placed on that goat, the goat was then killed, thus ceremonially the sins were paid for, because that goat represented Christ. When Aaron got to the scapegoat, the azazel goat, he again laid hands on the head of that goat—the live goat—and he again laid the sins of Israel upon his head. If the azazel represented Satan then he is guilty as anything, if the sins of Israel were laid on his head, which it very plainly tells us that is what Aaron did, they were guilty too. Now wait a minute. Their sins were already laid on the other goat, and they were ceremonially forgiven, the penalty was already paid.
There is a mystery here. I think that if I am explaining this clearly enough you can begin to see that the azazel goat cannot possibly represent Satan. This is one of the two problems with the azazel goat. We taught this faithfully all the years that we were in Worldwide Church of God, and I have taught it myself before you until we began to do some thinking and realized something is not quite right here. That in a way leads to the rest of the sermon.
Why does the text not say Satan's own sins were place on his head? Because nowhere in the Bible does it say that Christ died for the sins of Satan, or any other demon. That is another thing that has to be answered. Why then is this goat, since it is carrying all this load of sin, be allowed to live rather than to be put to death, like the other goat was? Have we not always been taught that Satan is an eternal spirit being? We have. Does that penalty, the wages of sin is death, apply only to men? But are angels excused from having to pay that penalty? If Satan is excused why are not the other demons excused as well?
We have been taught that they live forever, but brethren, we are finding that that belief is simply not true. Angels can clearly be put to death! If they live now it is because God has permitted it for His own purposes. But angels can be put to death, and that includes Satan.
Look at the things that God our Creator has made. They are marvelous, wonderful, intricate, dynamic, powerful, they are huge, they are small. I do not care where you look at anything that God has made, if we are able to see it or comprehend it in our minds, what an awesome God He is, how intelligent He is, how intricately everything is made, how much balance there is in the things that He does. Do you think He would be stupid enough to create angels who cannot be put to death if they go bad?
He made no mistake; I will show you that out of the Scriptures. God would not create something, do something so stupid as to create something that could not be gotten rid of if they were not suitable for what He made them for.
In this sermon I am going to focus most of my attention on one aspect of this puzzle. Later on David Grabbe is going to take on the second aspect, and you will find that fascinating and wonderful as well.
Do sinning angels live forever? I have already answered that. Most of my concentration is going to be on Satan, he is the main character among all of the spirit beings apart from God. There is much material available for him and I will tell you what applies to him applies to anybody who sins and will not turn away from their sins. That includes other angels besides Satan.
There can be no doubt that the major subject in the Bible is the gospel of the Kingdom of God. It supplies the important linkage and many details of God's purpose for this creation, and His plans for bringing them to pass. What most of us focus on is on man's salvation. That is his deliverance by God from the horrific mess that we have made of God's gift of life.
However, impacting on human life is that the planet earth is shared with angels created before us, the biblical indication is that some of these angels sharing earth with us now are invisible evil enemies that must be resisted. We cannot allow them to pull us into sin. We are to resist them, even as God demanded of Adam and Eve, He did not accept their justification. What He told them applies to us as well.
The Bible focuses on God's dealings with men. However, it does not ignore the good angels or demons, and this sermon searches out what ultimately becomes of the demons, as compared to God's plan for mankind.
Satan first appears in Genesis in the person of the serpent who tempted Adam and Eve. I am going to be leaping through the Bible, I want to give you a good broad, clear, detailed picture of what is going on in this subject, since it was taught so fervently and sincerely in the Worldwide Church of God, and by us as well. And we were wrong, we need to get this thing down, so that we see that we stand on good solid scripture.
Hebrews 1:13-14 But to which of the angels has He ever said: “Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool”? [He is showing the superiority of Jesus Christ. Both are spirit beings but there is a big difference between Christ and others.] Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister [meaning serving, when you minister to someone you are serving them] for those who will inherit salvation?
Angels are by nature created, composed of spirit. Their nature is superior to human nature, they are shown in scripture to have superhuman powers and knowledge of God and His purposes far exceeding man’s. As we can plainly see described here, they serve God on behalf of man’s welfare within God's purpose. Regarding Satan, who is a very high-ranking angelic authority within the hierarchy God created for their governance. Please turn to Isaiah 14.
Isaiah 14:12 “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!”
Satan is an angelic creature who has fallen from heaven.
Ezekiel 28:14 “You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain [He is not speaking of any human being. You do not know anyone who was on the holy mountain.] of God; you walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones.”
Here is an angelic creature who was right in the presence of God and the seat of His government.
II Corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
We are putting together relationships and clearly identifying in the Bible who this personage is. In the Kings James Version he was the one who beguiled Eve. Satan appears in the Bible from the very beginning to almost the very end. He is a major character, he is the greatest sinner that ever lived, yet God is going to let him be alive? I do not think so, not when God's own law says that the wages of sin is death.
Revelation 12:9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
Revelation 20:1-2 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.
This demon spirit is most certainly not ignored in the Scriptures, it is very clear that he has been alive much longer than humans. The question of what becomes of demons is not a burning doctrinal issue, our salvation is not tied to whether we know the correct answer. However, if you go on the Internet and do a search, you will find a wide divergence of opinion regarding angels’ and Satan's ultimate outcome. Some will say that they live forever regardless of their sins, others claim that they will be removed from any position of rank that they hold but not put to death, and others will complete the gamut by asserting that sinning angels will be put to death by fire.
Ezekiel 28:15 “You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you.”
Now we know for sure that Satan was a created being, angels are created spirit beings, created by God long before mankind as a servant class to carry out responsibilities assigned by God. They also are not created as mindless robots, mechanically carrying out assignments. If they were robots how could they be held responsible for sinning, because they could not sin. God would be making them sin and He does not do that! Rather, they were created with fine minds capable of growth and development and free to make choices regarding conduct. That is the only way that sin can be charged in God's shape of things.
They were free to make choices regarding conduct, however, with these gifts given they were also charged with the responsibilities of proving their loyalty to the Creator. When God gave them free moral agency they had to prove that they were worthy of continuing living in God's presence—they had to prove that they would be loyal to Him.
It is the same thing God has done with us. He has given us free moral agency and we are going to go to our death if we are not loyal to Him and will not submit to Him. The same thing applies to them. We know very clearly now that not all of them were loyal, we know for sure Satan was not.
Jude 6 And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode [they sinned], He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day.
We are going to develop something here.
II Peter 2:4 For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment.
Because they sinned they were kicked out of heaven, out of God's abode, and earth may have been before their domain, but now it is for sure to tend and care for it. Few mentions of them in Scripture revealed them wielding power far greater than those of men. The free moral agency circumstance set the stage for their sins of disloyalty to our Creator by one-third of them, led by Satan, the enemy of God, and to this day the enemy of mankind too.
Here is a brief definition of the word “hell” in II Peter 2:4, in Greek the word is “tartarus,” translated hell, but tartarus means a place of restraint, like they are in jail. They are in a place of restraint. But we will see as we go along that their restraint is not like a normal jail, they are free to move around all over the earth. They are restrained to the earth. They go nowhere outside the earth until they get permission from God to do so.
Revelation 12:4 His [the dragon] tail drew a third of the stars [angels] of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. [One-third of those created beings was caught in this web of sin, they participated in it, and they were cast to the earth.]
This sets the stage for why Satan is called fallen from heaven.
Isaiah 14:12 “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!”
This is not a fall from a physical height, from a tall building, but the spiritual and moral height of innocence and purity. Satan and his rebellious companions attempted to overthrow God's loving rule and replace him with themselves.
Isaiah 14:13-14 “For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven [this is the one who fell from heaven], I will exalt my throne [he had a 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.’”
So, when he replaces God, God will be beneath him, he would be the Most High.
We have completed one section of this article that I have written, which provides you a background on why we are going into this: because it is a part of the Day of Atonement, and because Satan is involved in the Day of Atonement, what it means and who this personage is, he was not a nobody in the hierarchy God created of angels.
That provides a background. Here I am going to give you four possible assumptions regarding their eternal state. These assumptions have been made by some (maybe) of us as well, and preached as truth because they did not have the truth and clarity on the subject yet.
First assumption: that all spirit in reference to bodily construction is identically ever-living and impossible to destroy as God Himself is.
Second assumption: that God was somehow guilty of a lack of judgment by equipping created angels with properties that cannot be destroyed before He even put them to the test of loyalty to Himself and for His purposes.
Third assumption: that angels are not subject to the same principles of judgment by God as God judges men. Does “the wages of sin is death” not apply to them?
Fourth assumption: that the New Heavens and the New Earth that God will later create will not be of the purity, holiness, and absolutely righteous quality that God promises. This is very important.
I think I am going to blow your mind with some of that when we get to it (we will not get to it today) as to how obvious it is once you see what it says!
This section I have titled, Living Forever. There is little room for doubt from the information given in Scripture that angels live very long lives. There is no biblical record of any angel ever dying even from the warfare that broke out as a result of their rebellion. If we assume the events of Genesis 1 begin following the warfare, thus accounting for earth’s condition being one of devastation—Tohu and Bohu are the Hebrew words—we are now very close to the completion of six thousand years of human history. Angels were created before Adam and Eve but Adam and Eve died as a result of their sins. They were human, you see. However angels continue living on.
What do we do this mystery?
Luke 20:34-36 [The subject is marriage.] Jesus answered and said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage. But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.”
We go through the resurrection and now we are equal to the angels, we will never die. Does that mean that angels never die? On the surface it appears to provide some with scriptural proof that angels never die. We know nothing about what sustains angel life, what enables angels to live such long lives. Even humans up until the Flood routinely lived nine hundred years or more. However, following the Flood lives were shortened dramatically. Shem, son of Noah, lived six hundred years, ten generations later Abraham died at one hundred seventy five, three generations later, Joseph died at one hundred ten years. David, a man greatly loved by God, died at seventy and the Scriptures showed him to be a very old seventy.
Here is the conclusion. We can see that God can lengthen or shorten lives as it pleases Him. He gives the life; He can take it away at any time He wants. He can make somebody live a long time.
John 4:24 “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
God is spirit, angels are spirit, but they are spirit creations of God. There is a difference here. Is the created spirit of angels identical with what God is? Please turn to Ecclesiastes 3.
Ecclesiastes 3:21 Who knows the spirit of the sons of men, which goes upward, and the spirit of the animal, which goes down to the earth?
The Hebrew word “spirit” can also be translated as breath. Maybe he is talking about breath and not spirit, but we are going to see, if you have a pretty good Bible, you will find that even the translators caught on to this and they translated the two words differently, because they were onto something.
Job 32:6-8 So Elihu, the son of Barachel the Buzite, answered and said; “I am young in years, and you are very old; therefore I was afraid, and dared not declare my opinion to you. I said, ‘Age should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom.’ But there is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty gives him understanding.”
Here when the word is used it does not mean air that we breathe in and out. There is a spirit in man that has a similarity with God. This spirit is capable of understanding. This spirit is what makes us human.
Ecclesiastes 3:21 gives us an indication that even an animal has spirit. Man, though a physical creation, has a spirit as we just read in Job 32:8. It too is a created spirit. This is why Solomon asked who knows whether the spirit of man goes up, but the spirit of an animal goes down? You cannot see spirit. That is why he was asking the question. But it was already well known to him that God takes the spirit in a man back to Him, and it preserves a record of the human being, of his life, actions, and so forth.
Solomon also let us in to the fact that an animal has a spirit, and even as the spirit in man gives humanity to a man, the spirit in an animal gives the qualities of that animal to it, to make it different from all other animals. I am going to prove this to you even further. It is right in the Book.
Are all of these spirits identical with God’s? God Himself differentiates regarding spirit, because one spirit, which man is able to receive from Him following faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, and baptism, is the Holy Spirit. There is Holy Spirit, and there are spirits that God has created that He has given to man, that He has given to animals, that impart characteristics to them. The spirit that God gave to man is so far superior to what is in an animal there is no way to discern it. The way we come to understand this is that God Himself separates the Holy Spirit from all of the created spirits. And thus we can reach a conclusion: all spirit is not the same, because God Himself differentiates.
What is it about the Holy Spirit that is different from the others? First of all, it is God’s. The second is that it is pure, it is designated as holy because it is different from other spirits. This is a powerful indication that all spirit is not the identical, even as all flesh is not identical. Did you now that was in the Scripture? This is why an elephant spirit is not in a monkey, each has a different spirit.
I Corinthians 15:38-39 But God gives it a body as He pleases, and to each seed its own body. All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of animals, another of fish, and another of birds.
That makes it plain. Even as there are different kinds of flesh, there are also different kinds and quality of spirits. We already have a spirit, but this is why the receiving of the Holy Spirit is such a big deal. It has nothing like it in all of creation, it is God's Spirit. When we receive that Spirit we immediately become a part of God, of His Family. That is awesome! And eternal life passes to us with that Spirit, the potential is now there, another gift from God. It sets us off from all animals, every other beast there is, including the angels. Angels are not eternal. As far as I know God's Holy Spirit is the only spirit the Bible shows as being eternal. That should give us a big clue that Satan is not going to live forever, he is guilty of sin.
It will be helpful to remember the meaning of the term “spirit” as used in the Bible. Unless specifically designated, the definition of spirit is an invisible immaterial power, it imparts things. Mankind, though having a spirit, must eat food and drink water to maintain life or he soon dies. Both God and angels are shown in the Bible eating food, the same kind of food that a human would normally eat. God's life is not mentioned anywhere in the Bible as needing to routinely eat something, He is self-sustaining. What about angels? Here is a thought. I do not know the answer to this yet, but I think it is interesting to think about. Please turn to Psalm 78.
Psalm 78:24-25 He had rained down manna on them to eat, and given them of the bread of heaven. Men ate angels’ food; He sent them food to the full.
He is talking about the manna that God provided Israel in the wilderness, men ate angels’ food. Is there a possibility there is more there than meets the eye? I do not know, we cannot know precisely what the cause is here for angels’ longevity. However, both man and beast, having a spirit, die.
Since we have not found a specific answer to the question of longevity in Scripture, the general answer is that God provides for all of those involved in His purposes for as long as He determines. Whether He withdrew a measure of that provision following the Flood in regard to mankind, it was because He deemed it necessary within His purposes to gradually shorten human life to their present level.
It appears that God is sustaining angels’ lives for His purposes. He has created them to live life at a much higher level of intellectual power as well as strength of bodily health than humans. However, as we shall see, there are truths in the Scripture that endless life is not a reality for them unless He deems it. They do not have the Holy Spirit, the eternal spirit. They have angelic spirit. The sovereign God judges, governs, and provides for His creation.
This next section is titled, Did God err in judgment? Please turn to Genesis 2.
Genesis 2:17 “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord..
That is as plain and clear as anything. If we sin, we die, whether we come along the heels of Adam and Eve, or follow the sinful way today. First God admonishes Adam and Eve before any actual conduct of life began for them as to what His standard is. The apostle Paul confirms in the New Testament that nothing regarding being required to meet His standard has changed in the intervening almost six thousand years.
That is interesting in relation to the subject of this sermon, because those who believe the false doctrine of the immortality of the human soul claims that, when a human dies his life continues but on a different plane, at a different state. Some, they say, go off into heaven to enjoy life with God, while others to a place of eternal torment in hell, but still alive. If they are not still alive in hell, when they find themselves in this terrifying circumstance the torments of hell are useless. According to their story of the torments of hell, they would have to be alive in order to feel it, so you create a false doctrine of the immortality of the soul to back up another false doctrine about the torments of hell.
If this circumstance is indeed true, how can it be said that they are truly dead? Continued existence in hell or in heaven, is simply another form of life that people are not dead. You wonder how is it that they cannot get that through their heads, they have passed to another form, so they add to the doctrines that useless.
Psalm 146:3-4 Do not put your trust in princes, nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help. His spirit departs, he returns to his earth; in that very day his plans perish.
The challenge for us is: do we believe God, or do we believe those people who are making up those false stories about people being alive in a place of torment, or people being alive in a heaven. If they are there, they have not died. But God says, in that very day his plans, his thoughts, perish. Scripture cannot be broken, death is clearly defined in the Bible as the permanent cessation of all vital functions in an animal, or a plant.
What about angels? One third of them sinned in their rebellion against Him, and there is no indication in the Bible that any of them have died to this point in time. Is it possible that God has a different standard for them regarding the wages of sin than He does for men? Is it possible they continue living because He is using them for His purposes as His plan continues? Is it possible He had a different standard because He cannot put them to death? You have three choices there. Take your pick.
Have we found a lose link in this so-called all-powerful God that He cannot do, something like putting somebody that He created to death? He is not all powerful if He cannot do that. It is just simple reasoning, but the Bible backs up the truth that is there.
Is God guilty of a misjudgment by creating them but failing to consider that some of them might commit a sin if they continue living on and on? Please turn to Romans 11.
Romans 11:33-36 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! “For who has known the Lord? Or who has become His counselor? Or who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid to him?” For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.
We can be certain that God made no error in judgment, nor does He have different standards regarding the wages of sin for angels and mankind. To arrive at a correct answer we need to understand clear principles of God's standard of judgment. God, as Paul extols Him, no error can be seen in anything that He did.
This section is called, Principles of God's judgment. Please turn to Exodus 12.
What this gives us here is a general principle of the way God does things.
Exodus 12:48-49 “And when a stranger dwells with you and wants to keep the Passover to the Lord, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as a native of the land. For no uncircumcised person shall eat it. One law shall be for the native-born and for the stranger who dwells among you.”
That is a general principle, unless specifically stated within a specific context. That is that God has one law for everybody. As I gave you there is an exception that is that it has to be specifically stated within a given context.
An example that the apostle Paul wrote is in Romans 1.
Romans 1:18-21 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, . . .
So that even the unconverted are without excuse! Sometimes God is hard to understand. We might want to forgive people for what they do, and He will do it on the basis of repentance, but he is telling us that God holds even the unconverted to account. They are responsible. He does not forgive them, just blow it off, because they are unconverted. They die. Is that plain enough?
Ezekiel 18:20 The soul who sins shall die, the son shall not bear the quilt of the father, nor the father bear the quilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.
This declaration reveals that each person—man, angel—is judged individually. In addition it clearly states here that man is a soul, he does not have a soul. The word soul simply means a living, breathing creature.
Virtually the whole chapter of Ezekiel 18 dwells on individual responsibility.
Ezekiel 18:21-23 [Forgiveness is available to the person who sins, through repentance.] But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him; because of the righteousness which he has done, he shall live. “Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” Says the Lord God, and not that he should turn from his ways and live?
Ezekiel 28:14-15 [principles of judgment] “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.”
What about the statements that regard Satan specifically? To this day he and his sinning companions are still alive though their movements about are constrained to planet earth, unless personally called to appear before God.
Job 1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them.
Satan is the god of this world, he is constrained to this world, just like all of the other angels, unless God calls him. If He calls him because He wants Satan to carry something out, as He did here with Job, He will call him into His presence. But he is no longer a heavenly creature, he is restrained to this earth. On the earth they are free to some extent to continue deceiving, and harassing mankind. The wages of their sins has not been carried out any further than a level of constraint. Will it ever be carried out further? The reason I ask this is because they are far, far more aware of God than we humans. They have been in His presence.
The next section in this will be: Is the fear of God in them?