New Testing Phase

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Blaspheming the glorious ones

I mentioned a few posts ago that one of the characteristics of a false teacher is that, according to 2 Peter 2:10 and Jude 8 they blaspheme glorious ones. This is a rather strange phrase and confusing, because who are the glorious ones, and how exactly are they blasphemed?

Well lets take this step at a time. First the glorious ones? who are they. The Greek word here is δόξα pronounced doxa which, in biblical Greek literally means glory. Most scholars agree that the phrase ‘glorious ones’ refers to spiritual beings, the angels and possibly demons. This is further re-enforced by Jude 9 which talks about the arch-angel Michael, contending with Satan. This is also consistent with the Old Testament which uses the ‘sons of God’ to refer to angels and possibly demons.

Job 2:1  Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the LORD.

Job 38:7  when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

First, from Job 38, we see that the sons of God, the angels sung for joy when God laid the foundations of the earth (vs 4). This obviously refers to a time when the angels, none seemingly had yet fallen.

So sons of God definitely refer to angels. In Job 2 the phrase ‘being among them’ could imply that there are demons among the angels. I’m inclined to think, taking all verses into consideration, that the phrase ‘sons of God’ refers to those spiritual beings who now are both angels and demons. The same applies to the phrase ‘glorious ones’, it refers to both angels and demons.

That being said, that means that a characteristic of a false teacher is that they will blaspheme angels and demons. Quite a scary thought, and something worth our consideration.

But how do they do it? The word blasphemy means to defame or to vilify, to drag the name and reputation of an object or person down. We usually use the word in regards to God, indeed the 3rd commandment is “you shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain” or to put it another way “do not blaspheme God”. However we can also use the word in different contexts. For example, if someone is spreading malicious rumours about you, you could say that they are blaspheming you. The word works in this context.

But how do false teachers blaspheme angels and demons? Jude 9 tells us what this means:

Jude 1:9  But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, "The Lord rebuke you."

In this verse, the archangel, who we would have said, next to God, is probably the most powerful being in the universe, does not take it upon himself or his own authority to rebuke Satan. If he had, that would have been a ‘blasphemous judgement as the verse says. Instead, Michael says ‘The Lord (the Greek word translated Lord literally means the Authority) rebuke you.

We could take this a number of ways, all equally valid. For example, a false teacher is someone who blasphemes the glorious ones by rebuking Satan or a demon on his own authority, or judging the demon. Or we could take it that these people are those who miss teach about angels and demons, giving people false ideas about who they are, and how they function.

This plays out in a number of ways, which I will outline in a later post. I will cite one example, of how this could happen. I have heard many false teachers use a phrase like “I bind Satan and the power he had over you.” There are so many things wrong with this statement, not least of which it is a person taking authority over Satan or a demon to somehow suppress their ability or movement.

Thus to sum up. One aspect of a false teacher is that they regularly mislead people about angels and demons, often with a large focus on casting demons out, and having authority over them.

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