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Particulars of Christianity:
314 End Times Prophecy (Eschatology)

Angels in the End Times - Part 1

Angels in the End Times - Part 1
Angels in the End Times - Part 2
Angels in the End Times - Part 3
Angels in the End Times - Part 4

Introduction In our series of articles entitled "Prophetic Symbols" we spent some time covering the angelic aspects of eschatology and how they factor into the unfolding of human history especially in the end times. In this article we will devote additional time to developing and exploring the specific area of angelology and eschatology in greater detail. Before we get into anything new let us first take some time to review and establish the picture of angelic activity that is presented in the Book of Revelation. We will start with Revelation 12's depiction of the angelic adversarial forces.

Revelation 12 and the Structure of the Satanic Angelic Kingdom

Revelation 12:1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: 2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. 3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. 4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.

LEVEL ONE: the Devil, the chief adversary, and his dominion

Revelation 12:3 depicts the angelic adversarial forces as a great red dragon, which has seven heads, and ten horns. From our Prophetic Symbols study we learned several things about these symbols, which are employed here to describe the satanic forces. (For a more in depth look at the Bible's use of prophetic symbols, please see our series of articles on the End Times (Eschatology) in our In-Depth Studies Section. Before proceeding with this article we recommend reading the above mentioned study in order to have a better context and foundation for the concepts that will be presented here.)

From our study of symbols we know that a beast is used to represent a kingdom (dominion) and its king in the largest or highest sense (Daniel 7:17, 23, Daniel 8:20-21, Revelation 13:1-3, 17:9-11). Therefore, the great red dragon represents the satanic angelic kingdom in the broadest sense as well as the top angel, the chief adversary, who has the highest authority in that kingdom. Revelation 12:7 uses this term in just this way.

Revelation 12:7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels

From Revelation 12:3 and 12:7 we see how the term "the dragon" is applied to the satanic angelic kingdom as well as specifically to the chief adversary as in verse 7 where "the dragon" is distinguished from "his angels."

Several verses in both the Old and New Testament inform us that the Devil's dominion is over the world. Job confirms that this fact was communicated and understood early on in the scripture.

Job 1:12 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath [is] in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.

Job 2:6 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he [is] in thine hand; but save his life.

(NOTE: it is not known whether the satan to whom God speaks in Job was the Devil himself or merely another of the angelic adversaries to whom authority had been granted at that time.)

John's gospel, 2 Corinthians 4, and Revelation 13 all confirm that the authority of the satanic angelic kingdom over the world was taught and understood at the time of the writing of the New Testament.

John 12:31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.

John 14:30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.

John 16:11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

2 Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

NOTE: On References to the Devil

First, we must keep in mind that the Hebrew term “satan” (Strong’s number 07854) and the Greek term “satanas” (4567) are generic words which simply mean “adversary,” “enemy,” or “one who opposes someone else.” Similarly, the Greek term “diabolos” (devil, Strong’s number 1228) refers to “one who falsely accuses.” These terms can be applied to any angel or human who engages in these activities (Matthew 16:23, Mark 8:33, Luke 4:8 and 2 Timothy 3:3, Titus 2:3 – “false accusers” is “diabolos.”) Both terms are also applied to more than one angelic being who opposes God (see Matthew 25:41 and Revelation 12:7 as well as Matthew 12:26 and Mark 3:23 for possible examples.)

In several passages, the bible teaches that there are many angels who oppose God. From a definitional and linguistic point of view they are all “satans” and “devils.” But, it is also biblically correct to recognize a chief satanic angel whom we may refer to as “THE Devil” or "Satan." However, because other angels work with the chief adversary in opposition to God, we cannot take a simple biblical reference to the enemy (“satan”) or the false accuser (“devil”) as necessarily referring to THE chief adversary himself. Instead, we must look to context to inform us which of the specific satanic angels an author is referring to. In some cases, the author may not mean to specify a single, particular satanic angel, but rather may only be speaking of “the enemy” in general. In other cases, the author may mean a particular satanic angel, but he may not specify for us which one he is referring to or distinguish this satanic angel from other satanic angels. In still other cases, context may inform us that the author specifically has in mind the chief adversary himself or another one of the seven leading satanic angels.

Second, we will not use proper names such as Lucifer in reference to the Devil for several reasons. First, the specific name Lucifer is the result of an incomplete translation of the Hebrew words “Heylel ben Shahar” in Isaiah 14. These Hebrew words literally translate to light-bearer (lightbringer, shining one, or enlightened one), son of the morning (or dawning) and were translated into a Latin name for the morning star, Lucifer, which is a compound word from the Latin words “lux” meaning light, and “ferre” meaning bringer. Instead of translating these Latin words (lux and ferre) into the commonly used generic words “light” and “bringer” these words were unnecessarily translated into a proper name because of a subjective association with the Roman god, Lucifer. Therefore, from a Biblical standpoint the proper name Lucifer is not applied to the cheif adversary ("the Devil" or "Satan.")

In fact, the Hebrew phrase translated as "Lucifer" may be a reference to a Babylonian name for a particular deity that they associated with the morning star. As we will show in this study many pagan deities are associated with the devil or other satanic angels. While the Bible recognizes that these heathen understandings were really referring to satanic angels it does not teach these names as the actual names of the satanic angels, which the heathen thought to be gods. One reason for this is that the Bible often uses different pagan names from several cultures for varying gods in order to refer to a single satanic angel (as we will show later in this study). This being the case we have no means to discern which of these titles, if any, was the actual name of the angel. The conclusion that we must draw is that these names are provided only as identification or as a description of the angel in mind in that passages at that time. The scriptures do not provide a proper name for the chief angelic adversary, or any other angelic adversary for that matter, and so we can only refer to them by the descriptive titles that the Bible does provide.

Lastly, throughout this study we will refer to the chief angelic adversary as “the Devil.” However, we do not mean to use this as his proper name, to rule out other equally valid biblical terms such as Satan (which simply means adversary), or to deny the biblical fact that other enemy angels may equally be called “devil” or “satan.”

LEVEL TWO: The Seven Chief Adversaries

Revelation 12 is describing the satanic angelic kingdom as having seven heads. According to our prophetic symbol legend we know that heads on a beast represent lesser kingdoms (dominions) and kings whose authority is derived from the larger dominion of the beast (Daniel 7:7-8, 20, 24, 8:7-9, 20-22). Therefore Revelation 12 is explaining that over the satanic angelic kingdom there are seven kings or chief rulers, who preside over the hierarchy of this kingdom.

LEVEL THREE: The Ten Kings

Additionally, we are informed that this kingdom has ten horns. We recall from our Prophetic Symbols study that horns represent a third level of subordinate rank of kingdoms (dominion) and kings whose power stems from the larger dominion of the beast or from one of the second level kingdoms (dominions) represented by the heads (Daniel 7:6, 8:8, 21-22).

To sum up then, Revelation 12 informs us that the kingdom of the Devil is structured in the following manner.
1. Level One - The Devil, the chief angelic adversary.
2. Level Two - There are seven chief or top ranking angels who rule over lesser dominions or kingdoms, which come from the satanic kingdom.
3. Level Three - Ten third level rulers whose authority stems from the Devil or one of the other chief adversaries and whose kingdom or dominion comes from the satanic kingdom and perhaps more specifically from the kingdom of one of the chief adversaries.

(NOTE: Later in this study we will show that the Devil is, in fact, one of the top ranking seven angelic rulers so that there are a total of seven, including the Devil, and not seven plus the Devil.)

A Succession of Angelic Kings

From Luke 4 we see that Devil, who has authority over this world, grants authority to those he chooses.

Luke 4:5 And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6 And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.

Just as the Devil declares in Luke 4:5-6, we see that he does, in fact, grant authority to the chief angelic kings to rule as a succession of kings with each holding sole dominion during the period of their rule (Revelation 17:10-11, Revelation 13:2, 4, 5, Daniel 8:12-13, 20-21, 9:26). Then, after them, just before the coming of the kingdom of God, the ten horns or kings rule simultaneously and give their kingdom to one of the previous chief angels, who had previously ruled (Revelation 17:12-13, Revelation 17:8-11).

The Authority of Jesus Christ and the Angelic Principalities

The New Testament speaks of the dominion of the satanic angelic kingdom in many places and confirms that our conclusions were understood and taught in the first century church.

1 Corinthians 15:24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father, when he shall have put down (2673) all rule (746) and all authority (1849) and power (1849)

Ephesians 1:20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set [him] at his own right hand in the heavenly [places], 21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: 22 And hath put all [things] under his feet, and gave him [to be] the head over all [things] to the church,

Ephesians 3:10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Colossians 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

Colossians 2:15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

1 Peter 3:22 - Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.

Of these passages 1 Peter 3:22 and Ephesians 1:20-22 are of particular interest. Ephesians 1 explains how Jesus Christ was placed in the position of the highest authority far above all other authority. In verse 22 there is a reference made to Psalms 110 by the phrase "put all things under his feet."

Psalm 110:1 The LORD says to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet." 2 The LORD will extend your mighty scepter from Zion; you will rule in the midst of your enemies.

Psalm 110 tells us that Jesus' enemies will be placed under his feet and made subject to him. We see this idea is discussed in the other verses above as well. But Hebrews speaks to this matter more directly.

Hebrews 1:13 But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?

Hebrews 2:5 For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. 6 But there is a place where someone has testified: "What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? 7 You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor 8 and put everything under his feet." In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him. 9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

1 Peter 3:22 tells us that the enemies that Psalm 110 has in mind that will be made subject to Jesus are, in fact, angels. Additionally, Hebrews 1's use of the phrase "but to which of the angels" asserts a direct contrast between Jesus Christ and these angelic rulers. Yet as Hebrews 2:8 tells us, we still do not presently see all of these angelic enemies made subject to Jesus.

We will come back to this subject a little later on as it is significant to our study. For now we will return to Revelation's description of the angelic kings.

The Sixth and Seventh Angelic Kings

Revelation 17:9-11 speaks the most clearly about the succession of seven angelic kings.

Revelation 17:(8a) The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, (8b) when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. 9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. 10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. 11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.

The first thing to note is that Revelation 17:10 confirms our conclusions from Revelation 12:3 that the satanic kingdom has seven chief angelic kings. Second, we see from chapter 17 that these seven angelic kings rule in succession. And third, at the time of John's writing five of the seven angelic kings were "fallen," one was, and the other was yet to come. The first five are said to be "fallen," which at least means that their authority had expired and may also refer to their subsequently being cast out of heaven after each of their individual times of rule (Luke 10:18, Revelation 9:1). One of these angels, the sixth angelic king, was ruling at the time John wrote. And the seventh, and final angelic king had not yet come, but when he comes he will only rule for a short space.

We can learn a lot about these first five princes from this passage and by comparing it with other passages. For instance, if we compare these statements about these angelic rulers with Daniel 8:12-13, 20-21, and 9:6 we can identify part of the succession according to the earthly empires they presided over. Daniel describes the Persian prince, who was to be followed by the Greek prince, and later the coming of the Roman prince as the prince of the people who would come and destroy the city and the sanctuary. The people who destroyed the city and the sanctuary were the Romans in 70 AD, so the angelic prince would be the Roman angelic prince. So, Daniel informs us of three of these princes with regard to their period of rule and their earthly kingdom, the Persian Prince, the Greek prince, and the Roman prince. And he does so in proper historical succession and in complete harmony with the succession of kingdoms that are presented in the visions of the Book of Daniel.

If we were to extend this succession outward and compare with it the other visions of Daniel we could identify the preceding empires and their angelic princes and we could also place these three in their proper position among the others. A study of Daniel 2, 7, and 8 reveals the following succession of empires, the Babylonians, the Media-Persians, the Greeks, and then the Romans. Additionally, we know that the Romans still held dominion at the time John wrote the Book of Revelation. We have already stated from Revelation 17 that the Roman angelic prince is the sixth angelic king in the succession of seven, the one that was ruling at the time, which was over Rome. This means that the angelic prince who was over Babylon was the third angelic king of Revelation 17:10. The angelic prince over Persia (Daniel 8:12-13, 20-21) was the fourth. And the angelic prince over Greece (Daniel 8:20-21) was the fifth.

We can further suggest that the first two princes were those of Egypt and Assyria. These are the two empires, which are described as preceding the Babylonians in the Old Testament record. Therefore we have the following succession of angelic princes: 1) the angelic prince of Egypt, 2) the angelic prince of Assyria, 3) the angelic prince of Babylon, 4) the angelic prince of Media-Persia, 5) the angelic prince of Greece, and 6) the angelic prince of Rome. This leaves one last angelic prince, the seventh king of Revelation 17:10, yet to come. And we must also discuss verse 11's mention of an eighth king.

These last angelic kings are given great attention in end time Bible prophecy, especially here in Revelation. We will now seek to identify from the angelic hierarchy described above, who the sixth, seventh, and eighth* angelic kings are, beginning with the sixth angelic king.

The Sixth Angelic King

There are two biblical details that we have about the sixth angelic king. First, we know that he was currently ruling at the time John wrote Revelation, which we have said makes him the Roman angelic prince prophesied in Daniel 9:26. Second, we know from John 12:31, John 14:30, and John 16:11 (and possibly Luke 10:18) that he was cast out of heaven at around the time of Jesus. For now this is all we will say about this sixth angelic king, but we will come back to him shortly.

The Seventh Angelic King

Revelation 17:10 provides two key details for this seventh angelic king, both of which help us to identify him. First, he had not yet come at the time John wrote Revelation. And second, when he does come, his time will be short.

From these two factors we can identify this seventh angelic king as the Devil himself. Here's why. Revelation 12:7-9 tells us that the dragon, the chief adversary, the Devil isn't cast out of heaven until just shortly before the coming of the kingdom of God.

Revelation 12:7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. 10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. 12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. 13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. 14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. 15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. 16 And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. 17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

So we see that Revelation 12:7-9 informs us that the Devil doesn't come to earth, but remains in heaven until he is cast out. Verses 11, 12, 13, 14, and 17 all identify for us that this does not take place until roughly three and a half years before the coming of the kingdom of God. Thus, the Devil has not come yet just as Revelation 17:10 tells us. We contrast this to the statements Jesus made about the Roman angelic prince who ruled the empire of Jesus' day and who was cast out at some point around that time.

John 12:31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.

John 14:30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.

John 16:11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

Apparently, the pattern is that an angelic prince is granted authority to rule by the Devil, then rules the dominion in wickedness, and is cast out of heaven because of it.

Additionally, Revelation 12:12-14 tells us that the time of the Devil on earth is short (42 months to be exact), just as Revelation 17:10 later confirms.

Revelation 12:12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. 13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. 14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.

Revelation 17:10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.

From these two factors we can see that the seventh angelic king of Revelation 17:10 is the chief adversary, the Devil, described in Revelation 12. Both passages describe his being cast out of heaven and coming to rule on earth for a short time prior to the coming of the kingdom of God. Thus, Revelation 17:10 describes the Devil as having not yet come and only continuing for only a short space just as Revelation 12 also states. Furthermore, as the seventh angelic king, the Devil will rule over the kingdom of the False Prophet. The kingdom of the False Prophet is described in Daniel 2 as the clay at the time of the feet and in Revelation 13:11 as a two-horned beast, a kingdom which coincides with the kingdom of the Antichrist and the eighth angelic king. (For more on these two empires please read our articles on Prophetic Symbols.)