The Law: A Religion of the Angels
In the New Testament a number of passages point to an understanding of angels with respect to their relationship to the Law.
These two words come from the word tasso which means to set in order, orderly arrange, organize, prescribe, direct. It seems to refer to the organization of the angelic structure and heirarchy of the angels
1. The Testimony of Stephen
"You who received the Law unto (eis) organization(diatagē) of angels and did not keep it." (Acts 7:53).
One perhaps should also keep in mind these words from Stephen who refers to the Golden Calf incident as Moses was receiving the Law on Mount Sinai:
At that time they made a calf and brought a sacrifice to the idol, and were rejoicing in the works of their hands. But God turned away and delivered them up to serve the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, It was not to me that you offered victims and sacrifices forty years in the wilderness, was it, O House of Israel. You took along the Tabernacle of Moloch and the star of your God Rompha, the images which you made to worship. I also will remove you beyond Babylon (Acts 7:43).
2. Paul to the Galatians
At the beginning of this letter to the Galatians, who are resorting to the Mosaic Law, Paul says,
But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! (Galatians 1:8-9)
Paul also explains that those under the Law are under a curse.
For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all the things written in the book of the Law to perform them.... Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs upon a tree." (Galatians 3:10-13).
Cursed is he who does not confirm the words of this law by doing them.' And all the people shall say, 'Amen.'
And then he explains:
Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been organized (diatassō)
through angels by the agency of a mediator... but a mediator is not of one but God is one. (Galatians 3:19-20).
He further adds these pertinent words:
But the writing has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. 24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor....Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave although he is owner of everything, 2 but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father. 3 So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world....However at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are no gods. 9 But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless stoicheion, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again? 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years.
3. Paul to the Colossians
In his opening words Paul refers to being saved from the authority of darkness and transferred into the Son's Kingdom of light:
thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. 13 For He rescued us from the authority of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son
And then he seems to further clarify:
For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or lordships or rulers or authorities--all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. (cf. Eph 1:10-11.)
And he still seems to be in the same vein of thought when he says the following:
Be discerning lest anyone of you is taken captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the stoicheion of the world, rather than according to Christ... he having blotted out the handwriting in the dogmas which was against us; and He has taken it out of our midst, having nailed it to the cross.... disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them in it (see 1:12-19)... let no one judge you... things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the body the Christ... Let no one defraud you in willful humility and the religion of the angels... If you have died with Christ to the stoicheion of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to dogmas... Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. (Colossians 2:8-3:2).
Colossians 2:14 is clearly paralleled by this verse in the Ephesians sister letter:
in His flesh he abolished the enmity, the Law of commandments in dogmas (Ephesians 2:15).
These ideas also seem to be paralleled:
He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him 10 with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth.... He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. (1:9-10, 20-21)
to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; 10 so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenlies... I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name (3:9-10)
Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of the darkness of this age, against the spiritual powers of wickedness in the heavenlies. 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.
4. Book of Hebrews
For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? (Hebrews 2:2-3).
When we regard this carefully, we can see why the Hebrews writer is contrasting the position of the risen man Jesus with the angels. The purpose of the book of Hebrews is to exhort them not to return to the Law. The argument then in chapter one is plain. If Jesus is greater than the angels why would you return to inferiority of the Law as governed by angels.
The same idea seems to be expressed in the following passage:
For you have not come to a mountain that can be touched and to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind, 19 and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words which sound was such that those who heard begged that no further word be spoken to them. 20 For they could not bear the command, "IF EVEN A BEAST TOUCHES THE MOUNTAIN, IT WILL BE STONED." 21 And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, "I AM FULL OF FEAR and trembling." (Hebrews 12:18-21).
The LORD came from Sinai, And dawned on them from Seir; He shone forth from Mount Paran, And He came from the midst of ten thousand holy ones; At His right hand there was flashing lightning for them. (Deuteronomy 33:2).
The Law: An Economy of Death
who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was, 8 how will the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory? 9 For if the ministry of condemnation has glory, much more does the ministry of righteousness abound in glory. (2 Corinthians 3:6-9).
What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, "YOU SHALL NOT COVET." 8 But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead. 9 I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died; 10 and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me; 11 for sin, taking an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. 12 So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. 13 Therefore did that which is good become a cause of death for me? May it never be! Rather it was sin, in order that it might be shown to be sin by effecting my death through that which is good, so that through the commandment sin would become utterly sinful. 14 For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. 16 But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. 17 So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. 19 For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. 20 But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. 21 I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. 22 For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, 23 but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
"O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY ? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING ?" 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; 57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:55-56).
Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might nullify him who had the might/strength of death, that is, the devil. (Hebrews 2:14).
the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. (1 JOhn 3:8-9).
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. 4 You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. 5 They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. (1 John 4:1-5; see Col 3:2in light of chapter 2).
the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.(1 JOhn 5:19).
Satan and the Sons of God
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. 7 The LORD said to Satan, "From where do you come?" Then Satan answered the LORD and said, "From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it." 8 The LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil." 9 Then Satan answered the LORD, "Does Job fear God for nothing? 10 "Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 "But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face." 12 Then the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him." So Satan departed from the presence of the LORD. (Job 1:6-12)
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. 2 The LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" Then Satan answered the LORD and said, "From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it." 3 The LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man fearing God and turning away from evil. And he still holds fast his integrity, although you incited Me against him to ruin him without cause." 4 Satan answered the LORD and said, "Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. 5 "However, put forth Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh; he will curse You to Your face." 6 So the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, he is in your power, only spare his life." 7 Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. (Job 2:1-6
Parallelism Which Begs Inquiry
Then Satan (Adversary) stood up against Israel and moved David to number Israel. (1 Chronicles 21:1).
Now again the anger of YAHWEH was kindled against Israel, and incited David against them to say, "Go, number Israel and Judah. (2 Samuel 24:1).
Now again the anger of YAHWEH was kindled against Israel, and incited David against them to say, "Go, number Israel and Judah. (2 Samuel 24:1).:
But the anger of God was kindled because he was going, and the angel of YAHWEH took his stand in the way as an Satan (Adversary) against him. (Numbers 22:22)
But the anger of God was kindled because he was going, and the angel of YAHWEH took his stand in the way as an Satan (Adversary) against him. Now he was riding on his donkey and his two servants were with him. When the donkey saw the angel of YAHWEH standing in the way with his drawn sword in his hand.... Then YAHWEH opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of YAHWEH standing in the way with his drawn sword in his hand; and he bowed all the way to the ground. The angel of YAHWEH said to him, "Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out as an Satan (Adversary), because your way was contrary to me." (Numbers 22:22-32).
Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of YAHWEH and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. YAHWEH said to Satan, "YAHWEH rebuke you, Satan!(Zechariah 3:1).
The Anger of YAHWEH burned/was kindled
Then the anger of YAHWEH burned/was kindled against Moses. Exodus 4:14.
My anger will burn/be kindled, and I will kill you with the sword. Exodus 22:24.
Now then let Me alone, that My anger may burn/be kindled against them and that I may destroy them; and I will make of you a great nation. (Exodus 32:10).
Now the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of YAHWEH and when YAHWEH heard it, His anger was kindled, and the fire of the LORD burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp. (Numbers 11:1).
So Israel joined themselves to Baal of Peor, and the anger of YAHWEH burned/was kindled against Israel. (Numbers 25:3).
Ruler of this World
And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6 And the devil said to Him, "I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. 7 "Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours. (Luke 4:5-7)
Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. (John 12:31
I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me. (John 14:30)
And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged. (John 16:11)
Created: March 18, 2011
Last Updated: March 28, 2011