“A Star That Had Fallen”
Naturally we have to begin this analysis with the “star that had fallen from the sky”, which is none other than Satan himself, the morning star of scripture that fell from the sky at the sounding of the third trumpet. This was covered in great detail in Part 41, so we won’t belabor the point. We simply need to connect the dots between these events to understand what is happening.
Although we know - and Satan knows - that his authority as the god of this age (2Cor 4:4) will be stripped from him upon Christ’s return, Satan will nevertheless attempt to thwart this prophetic ending. But to make that attempt, he will first need to secure the release of his accomplices in the Abyss. The problem is, Satan doesn’t hold the keys to the Abyss, so he's never been able to open it in the past. But because it will serve God’s purpose at this moment in time, Satan will be given the keys, and will immediately release it’s prisoners.
I think we can safely presume the nature of Satan’s plan in doing so, based on his history. He will probably use this spiritual horde to engineer a counter-attack against God in his attempt to thwart prophecy, which would theoretically alter the course of history future. Since biblical prophecy calls for Jesus to return in order to save Israel after Satan’s 3½ year reign, Satan's plan will be to eliminate Israel completely before that time is up. After all, if there is no Israel left for Jesus to save, then there would logically be no need for Jesus to return. But try as he may, Satan will not be able to finish the job, and a remnant of Israel (the elect) will indeed be saved;
“For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened." (Matthew 24:21-22)
“Smoke From The Abyss”
While commentaries often state that the smoke pouring out from the Abyss will be a physical manifestation of the smoldering fire that emanates from that place, I believe it actually represents something very different. In biblical symbolism, smoke was often seen as a covering for God when He appeared to man, but it was also used as a symbol for His anger. One of the best examples of this is found in Psalm 18, or what I call the ‘Armageddon Psalm’, where we can see this symbolism clearly displayed;
“The earth trembled and quaked, and the foundations of the mountains shook; they trembled because he was angry. Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it.…….The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at your rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of breath from your nostrils." (Psalm 18:7-15)
In this passage smoke is described in connection with God’s anger and with the fire of His judgment. So just as smoke is used to illustrate the Lord’s anger, perhaps it can also illustrate the anger of these spirits that have been locked in the Abyss. After all, while they were on earth their thoughts were evil all the time, so imagine the anger and rage they will feel after thousands of years of imprisonment. They will feel rage towards the God that put them there, and they will be determined to torment His creation as payback. This is why their anger is shown as blanketing the sky like “smoke from a gigantic furnace.”
“Locusts & Scorpions”
When God uses symbols in the Bible, there is a reason for it, and there is certainly a reason for depicting these spirits as “locusts”. We all know that locusts were seen as a curse in the ancient world since they routinely stripped and devoured all croplands in their path. So we can imagine why God also used them to symbolize invading armies, because these armies would also devour all of the croplands and natural resources in their paths. This comparison is illustrated in many places in the Old Testament, such as the following;
“The LORD Almighty has sworn by himself: I will surely fill you with men, as with a swarm of locusts, and they will shout in triumph over you.” (Jeremiah 51:14)
This is only one of many prophetic passages where this symbolism is used in this way. The books of Joel and Amos also use these references numerous times, as do other Old Testament prophets. So with these passages as our guide, we must presume that these locusts are symbolic of an invading army. However, these locusts will not be just any army. They will be spirits, not men (although some once were) and they will have a specific kind of power that is likened to scorpions. While this may sound strange, Jesus himself provided a hint about these scorpions when He sent the disciples out into the world;
“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:18-20)
Here, Jesus makes a reference to the "snakes and scorpions" that Israel feared during the Exodus wanderings, and he likens them to spirits, suggesting that two different types of spirits are in play. Of course, a snake or ‘serpent’ was often used to symbolize Satan, so perhaps we can assume that snakes are angels. But that leaves us to wonder what the scorpions represent, and whether or not they are something different than angels.
If we think about this symbolism, we can probably agree that snakes are far more lethal than scorpions, on average, although both can be dangerous. In fact, biblical clues regarding scorpions would suggest that they are a symbolic source of scourging to the people of Israel (1Kings 12:11), just as evil spirits are. But that provides only a partial clue about their identity.
Another clue may be provided when we consider a unique physical quality that scorpions possess. The fact is, they glow brightly under ultraviolet light, which in essence is ‘black’ light. So is it possible that this reveals something about their true nature, that their essence is revealed in the darkness rather than in the light? I think so.
Who’s In The Abyss?
If we wish to determine who these ‘scorpion’ locusts from the Abyss are, it would certainly help to determine who the Abyss was prepared for, and whether or not the Bible provides any clues about who is currently in there. Thankfully we have a number of clues as to it’s residents, beginning with a big clue from the Apostle Peter;
“For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment….” (2Peter 2:4)
Here, Peter describes hell as a prison for the angels, and although he doesn’t use the term ‘Abyss’, I think we can safely presume it’s the same thing. After all, the Abyss is where the angel Satan will be imprisoned when Jesus returns;
“And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.” (Revelation 20:1-3)
However, there are more residents in this Abyss than just fallen angels, as witnessed by this passage when Jesus encountered the demon-possessed man;
"Jesus asked him, 'What is your name?' 'Legion,' he replied, because many demons had gone into him. And they begged him repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss." (Luke 8:30-31)
Here, it was demons that feared the Abyss, rather than angels, and there is a distinction. And we have a clue about this distinction in a parallel passage in Mark chapter 5, where these demons are also described as “evil spirits”;
He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won’t torture me!” For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you evil spirit!” Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” (Mark 5:7-9)
What are Evil Spirits?
If you’ve read the New Testament, no doubt you’re aware of the fact that there was a continual need to cast evil spirits out of men and women, because they constantly sought to indwell people. And that is still true today. So, have you ever wondered why they seek this? Why is it that they desire human bodies when they have an essence of their own in which to dwell.
Well, the answer seems rather bizarre and surreal at first, but when it is examined in depth, it makes perfect sense. It seems that these evil spirits are actually the disembodied spirits of the Nephilim, the half-angel and half-human giants of Genesis chapter 6, who were the "men of renown" in pre-flood times, and whose thoughts were "evil all the time" while they lived on earth. They wish to indwell people because they formerly had bodies of their own, and they desire to return to that state. But they never will, because they are slated for destruction due to their incredibly evil nature.
The prophet Enoch describes the aftermath of their destruction in the days before the flood, and also reveals what became of their evil spirits;
“And now, the giants, who are produced from the spirits and flesh, shall be called evil spirits on the earth, and shall live on the earth. Evil spirits have come out from their bodies because they are born from men and from the holy Watchers; their beginning is from primal origin. They shall be evil spirits on earth, and evil spirits shall they be called; spirits of the evil ones.
As for the spirits of heaven, in heaven shall be their dwelling, but as for the spirits of the earth which were born on the earth, on the earth shall be their dwelling.
And the spirits of the giants afflict, oppress, destroy, attack, war, destroy, and cause trouble on the earth. They take no food, but do not hunger or thirst. They cause offenses but are not observed.
And these spirits shall rise up against the children of men and against the women, because they have proceeded from them in the days of the slaughter and destruction.” (Enoch 15:8-12)
According to Enoch, the disembodied Nephilim spirits are the ‘evil spirits’ of scripture that cause lamentation in the world. And it’s highly likely that they are also the locusts of the Abyss, because many of them were cast into that prison throughout the ages. And notice how the text says they are "not observed”. In other words, their essence is seen in the darkness, just as the scorpion’s essence is most easily seen in the darkness.
So now we know that angels and evil spirits are the prisoners that are locked in the Abyss. But the question still is, what did they do to wind up there?
The Angels’ Sexual Immorality
While the passages above speak of the sin committed by the angels, they don’t describe what it was. That’s because this sin was rather well known in Peter’s day, even though it is largely lost on the church today. So have you ever wondered just WHAT the ancient sin of the angels was? Have you ever wondered what it was that they did that was so evil in God’s eyes that He was compelled to destroy the earth and start again? Well, let’s find out, beginning with a statement made by the Apostle Jude.
“And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.” (Jude 1:6-7)
Notice how Jude reveals the nature of the angels’ sin by equating it with the sexual immorality of Sodom and Gomorrah. That’s the big tip-off that proves we’re talking about an unnatural sexual union of some kind. In the case of the men of Sodom and Gomorrah, their sin was homosexuality, expressly forbidden by God. But in the case of the angels, their sin was unnatural on a slightly different level, because it involved their sexual union with human women. Although many in the church today choose not to believe this, it nevertheless is exactly what is stated by God in Genesis chapter 6;
“The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.” (Genesis 6:4)
The term “sons of God” in this passage reads b’ney haElohim in Hebrew, and every other time this term is used in the Bible, it is translated as “angels.” In contrast, the term “daughters of men” in Hebrew is b’noth haAdamah, which can also be translated as the “daughters of Adam”. This means ALL daughters of mankind, not just those on Cain’s side, as the illogical Sons of Seth theory would claim. And the result of this unnatural union was an angelic/human hybrid known as the Nephilim, who according to the Bible grew to giant proportions and governed mankind as the “men of renown.”
The Nephilim - The Grecian Giants
If you’ve even wondered why cultures all around the world have myths concerning half-human and half-angel demigods that were incredibly large, all you have to do is to understand that these myths were based on the reality described in Genesis 6. This is even confirmed by the historian Josephus, who clearly equated the Nephilim to the pantheon of Greco-Roman gods;
“For many angels of God coupled with women, and begat sons that proved unjust, and despisers of all that was good, on account of the confidence they had in their own strength; for the tradition is, that these men did what resembled the acts of those whom the Grecians call giants.” (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews)
The early church and the Jewish community of the first century understood the history that resulted from this forbidden union, and clearly understood what the Nephilim were. Their understanding was certainly confirmed by Josephus, but the gigantism of these Nephilim is also confirmed in many passage of the Bible. In fact, it is the very size of these giants that struck fear into Israel during the Exodus;
“And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” (Numbers 13:32-33)
Other biblical references to the offspring of the Nephilim include Goliath, who was likely 10.3 feet tall, and Og of Bashan, who was probably 15 feet tall. But there are many other passages as well that refer to these giants. In fact, there are so many references to these giants that it’s difficult to understand how we can ignore the sinister role that they played in history past…..and the sinister role they will play in history future.
In the next post we'll continue this analysis of the giants and how they have altered the course of history, both before the flood, and after.