We’re starting a new series on angels by request from a dear saint who’s waited a long time for this, whom I love dearly. She’s here tonight. She already texted me this morning, “Don’t short-change me!” You should’ve never told me that. Now I feel like you’ve given me permission to talk for hours on end every Wednesday night. You’ll be begging me to stop talking about angels. LOL
Tonight, we’re going to start with a few introductory comments about angels. Then, classifications of angels, the creation of angels, which I have to cover first before we dive into the morning stars. And how do you explain the morning stars? Who or what are the morning stars? It is possible to figure it out.
Bryan Ross had a big reference sheet on angels, and he pointed out that angels are referenced in 17 books in the OT and 17 books in the NT. The number of books in which they’re referenced is evenly distributed in the Bible. There are 114 references in the OT and 185 in the NT with the book of Revelation having the most references, about 76 in that book. In the OT, angel is translated from two variations of the same Hebrew word malak, and in the NT all the references to angels are translated from the Greek word angelos. They both mean angel which also means messenger. Now of course, God does not spend any time in His Word explaining the organizational structure of His heavenly government, even though some of us would love that. But we find that references to angels and their classifications and titles are given only in service to whatever story is being told. Their names and titles are revealed only in service to the telling of a story in the Bible. Angels are never the point of any story. Their service to God and to man is always the point. So if you consider the totality of the almost 300 references to angels in the Bible, we’re only given a fraction of a sense of the enormous spiritual hierarchy of angels. Just as the Bible tells us that there is an innumerable company of angels (Heb. 12:22), I think there must likewise be an innumerable number of titles and classifications that have not been revealed to us. We won’t discover the depths and glory of God’s entire heavenly host and the brilliance of the perfect order of His government until we get to glory.
When it comes to classifications of angels, I think we have to be careful to not confuse descriptions of angels with being a certain class of angels. Like, for example, when the writer of Hebrews describes angels as ministering spirits (Heb. 1:13-14), I don’t think he’s talking about a special class of angels. I think they are all ministering spirits in some way. When Paul says in 1Ti 5:21 I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, I don’t think he’s talking about a special class of angels either. They are all elect in the Biblical sense in that they were all created for a purpose. They were all elected, chosen to serve Him in specific ways. The phrase sons of God is at times a reference to angels depending upon the context, sometimes a reference to believers, and in both cases, the expression is just a broad term, not a specific class. I also noticed that in the OT there were a number of references to an angel of God or angels of God. I think that’s just a broad term like sons of God. In Psalms 89:6, we encounter the term sons of the mighty, which again is a broad term about angels that emphasizes their great power. When it comes to the watchers in Daniel 4, I’m on the fence. I’m not so sure a watcher is a proper title so much as it is a description of their defined responsibilities as angels. The job was to watch. To observe. To be a witness. In service of God. Daniel 4 also mentions holy ones, which I think were angels who were simply set apart for a purpose. The same goes for a number of angels found in Revelation. There were a few who were described by the responsibilities they had been given, which wouldn’t necessarily mean they were proper titles. You had, for example, in Rev. 14:18 the description of the angel who came out from the altar and who had power over fire. You had an angel in Rev. 16:5 described as the angel of the waters. And of course, you have famously in Rev. 9:11, and we had talked about Rev. 9 in a podcast this week. This episode during the tribulation is just terrifying. Look at vs. 1. Rev 9:1 And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. Rev 9:2 And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. Rev 9:3 And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. Notice that what fell was a star, which was called a “him.” “…to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.” Could Joel be sharing this because this might help us in our understanding of morning stars? Maybe. So this male star had a key, and this star opened up the bottomless pit. Clouds of smoke come out, which darkens the earth, and all these terrifying locusts with stingers come out of the pit stinging all those without the seal of God on their foreheads. They do this for 5 months! Men will seek death, but they won’t find it! If you’re ever having a bad day, you can praise the Lord we won’t be around for that nightmare! Then we read in 9:11 And they (locusts) had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon. I disagreed with Bullinger on this verse. He felt the angel of the bottomless pit was Satan, which makes no sense to me. Satan would never allow those locusts to be unleashed into the world and screw up his reign. Bullinger felt the names had to do with the pit, but I think the names had to do with the angel, because the verse says, “his name Apollyon”. Again, I think this is a name that helps to describe his election, his role. Both of those names in Hebrew and Greek mean destruction or the destroyer. That’s the role of the angel by his name. He’s in charge of the monsters in the pit. The phrase the king or the angel of the bottomless pit are not proper titles but descriptions of his role, of his responsibilities. The bigger point is that the monsters in the pit have a king over them, an angel who serves the Lord, whose name means the destroyer, and it’s his God-ordained duty to give direction to the monsters when they are released at the appointed time to unleash destruction upon the earth.
Classifications of angels: we’re going to do deep dives into all these later, but there are only three terms I’d feel comfortable calling proper classifications:
The highest class of angels, the ruling class, and we know from the story of Lucifer, that he was the top angel. He was called the anointed Cherub that covereth. So even within that class of angels, there was a structure with titles given to specific angels.
Arguably, the second highest class of angels. Seraphim literally means “burning ones.” I don’t know if the burning has to do with appearance or zeal to serve the Lord. Maybe both. Seraphims are distinct from Cherubims and yet, they’re very similar in some ways and they may be related, which we’ll explore later.
iii. The Archangel
Michael. There is only one archangel because Michael is called the archangel in Jude 9. “Arch” means “over,” a high-ranking position. I thought, “wasn’t Gabriel an archangel?” Gabriel is mentioned 4 times in Scripture. Never given a title. In Luk_1:19 he tells John the Baptist’s father, “I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.” Gabriel is God’s right-hand angel. God turns to Gabriel and says, “go to this person and share this news,” and he goes and does it. But the fact that we know his name, as we know the name of Michael, means that they must be high-ranking angels.
The Angel of the Lord: I think this is its own special category as a type of theophany, a manifestation of God in the flesh. You also had at the end of Joshua 5, Joshua, in a vision, spoke to the Captain of the Lord’s host, which may have also been a theophany, a manifestation of God in the flesh.
Creation of Angels
Turn with me to Neh. 9. When it comes to the creation of the angels, a lot of books reference Col 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. I don’t think anyone here needs exegesis on these verses. Those four words, thrones, dominions, principalities, powers tells us that in the spiritual realm, God is not the author of confusion. There is structure. Order. There is a chain of authority, a spiritual hierarchy in His government. Some love to reference Psa 148:2 Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts... Psa 148:5 Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created. But I love the reference in Nehemiah 9. Now you remember the context. Nehemiah and Ezra are closely tied together. Both chronicle Israel’s release from Babylonian captivity. Ezra was about rebuilding the temple. Nehemiah was about building the wall of Jerusalem. And when they were finished, Israel celebrated. So, in Neh. 8-10, we have an account of a spiritual revival in Israel. And so the celebration continues here in chapter 9. Neh 9:5 Then the Levites, Jeshua (ya-shoo-ah), and Kadmiel (kad-mee-ale), Bani (bawnee), Hashabniah (khash-ab-neh-yaw), Sherebiah (shay-rayb-yaw), Hodijah (ho-dee-yaw), Shebaniah (sheb-an-yaw), and Pethahiah (peth-akh-yaw – I looked up the proper pronunciation of the Hebrew names because I didn’t want to short-change Renae, but they all), said, Stand up and bless the LORD your God for ever and ever: and blessed be thy glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise. Neh 9:6 Thou, even thou, art LORD alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee.
Are these not thrilling passages? Stand up and bless the LORD your God for ever and ever! His name is exalted above all blessing and praise! He is the only living and true God: Thou art Jehovah alone, self-existent and independent. There is no God besides Him. He is the Creator of all things: Thou hast made heaven, earth, and seas, and all that is in them. He is the great Protector of the whole creation: “thou preservest them all.” God's providence extends itself to the highest beings in Heaven to the lowest beings on Earth. What God has made He will preserve. Like what Solomon said, in Ecc 3:14 I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever… And then we learn in vs. 6 that “The host of heaven, the world of holy angels, worshippeth thee. Worshippeth with the -eth at the end means a continual state of being. The heavenly host are continually worshipping God day and night. And His name is exalted above all blessing and praise! The best they can offer in praising God's name, even by all those holy, elect angels, even by the greatest of them, all their continual praise together, all of it falls infinitely short of what God deserves. His name is not only exalted above our blessings, but above all blessings. Put all the praises of heaven and earth together continually forever and all the praise will never attain unto what is deserving for His glory. Could it be that Joel is sharing these thoughts because the heavenly host continually worshipping might aid us in our look at the morning stars? Maybe.
Which brings us to the morning stars. Turn to Job 38. So we established a couple of things so far. The star that fell from Heaven in Rev. 9. The fact that the angels are ministering spirits in various classifications and duties with the elite class being the Cherubims and Seraphims. The entire world of holy angels continually worships God. And here, in Job 38, we get an idea of when they were created. Job 38:1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Job 38:2 Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? Job 38:3 Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. Job 38:4 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Job 38:5 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Job 38:6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; Job 38:7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
Man! Do you not feel humbled by these verses - the greatness, the power, the glory of our creator? All we know from vs. 7 is that angels were created before the Earth was created, and they all celebrated at the creation of the Earth. People love to reference this verse, but you don’t find much in the way of exegesis about it, which has always bothered me. Because I want to know, what exactly are we looking at in this verse? Who are the morning stars? The Lord said, When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? So we have morning stars singing and we have sons of God shouting for joy. Is there a difference between the morning stars and the sons of God? Is the Lord talking about the same activity or two separate activities? Are these two poetic expressions about all the heavenly host of angels all singing and shouting together at the same time? Is it even possible to sing and shout at the same time? You know, that question makes me think of “Saved by the Blood.” We sing and shout every time we sing “Saved by the Blood.” “Glory, I’m saved, Glory, I’m saved, My sins are all pardoned, my guilt IS ALL GONE.” We totally sing and shout that song. Is that what the angels were doing? Are these even angels?
What few thoughts I encountered differed on Job 38:7. One group, some of the Plymouth Brethren guys, argued that the morning stars could not be angels, because angels don’t sing. That Christmas hymn was always wrong when we sing “Hark! The herald angels sing,” “glory to the new-born king.” That never happened. And it’s true. They didn’t sing. At the birth of our Lord Jesus a multitude of the heavenly hosts praised God, saying, “Glory to God in the highest” (Luke 2:14). Now is it possible to say something in a musical sort of way? All of us who can’t sing, we at least say the hymns in a musical sort of way, don’t we? Is it possible that in Luke 2 it could have been said that the proclamations of the angels were spoken or sung, and both could be true? Yes, I think it’s possible. But it is also true that you won’t find passages anywhere else in the Bible about angels singing. They’re always proclaiming, shouting, saying, speaking. They’re not singing. But you might remember from the story of Lucifer, he was the anointed Cherub that covereth. And it was said of him in Eze 28:13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Satan was not only the top angel, but he was also in charge of music. God created in him the ability to make musical instruments. So are you going to tell me that all the angels only played instruments and none of them sang, too? Remember how we read in Neh. 9 that the host of heaven worshippeth thee. The host of heaven continually worship God. What does it mean to worship? If you study “worship” in the Bible, there are many aspects. Bowing yourself, prostrating yourself in a spirit of reverence is a form of worship. Thanking God is a form of worship. Serving God is a form of worship. When we put Him first in our lives, that is a form of worship. Seeking His Word for direction is a form of worship. And certainly speaking and singing songs of praise is a form of worship. If the Bible doesn’t specify how angels worship, why would we exclude singing songs of praise? How could the angels not sing when the anointed Cherub that covereth was in charge of music and created all those musical instruments?
So I’m not buying the argument that angels don’t sing. Second, they argued further that because angels don’t sing, the morning stars have to be the actual stars in the second heaven. And others have pointed out how, back in 2011, NASA was saying that each star in the universe has an individual “song.” Let me ask a question. When did the morning stars start singing? Did they sing at the beginning in Gen. 1:2 when the earth was without form and void? Did they sing all throughout the six days of creation? Or did they sing in Gen. 2:2 when the Lord rested on the seventh day? Well, the context tells you when they sang. Look at Job 38:6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; Job 38:7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? They sang at Gen. 1:2 when the earth was without form and void. So how long did they sing? They never stopped. Remember what we read in Neh. 9. They continually worship Him! I don’t even think their singing began when the Earth was created. I think their singing began the moment they were created, but at Gen. 1:2, the subject of their songs of praise shifted to be about glorifying God for the creation of the Earth. And the subject of those songs began when the foundations were fastened, and God laid the cornerstone. And I have a bigger point to make. How could the morning stars be the real stars in the second heaven when the stars weren’t even created until the fourth day? There’s no way that the Lord could be talking about real stars in Job 38:7.
Let’s defend the idea that symbolic stars in Scripture are angels. Turn with me to Rev. 12. Rev 12:3 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. Rev 12:4 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. I’d say that’s pretty self-explanatory in that the third part of the stars of heaven are the angels that rebelled with Satan. Flip back to chapter 1. Here we’re given symbolism, which the Lord later explains to us. Rev 1:16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength… Rev 1:20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches. So from all these passages, I’d say it’s pretty defensible that stars as a symbol are angels. And here in Rev. 1, I’d say the reference to “angels of the seven churches” is again not a proper title but a description of their responsibilities. They were God’s appointed messengers to each of those seven churches. And you remember the reference we already covered at the beginning of the sermon in Rev. 9, the star that fell from heaven, the star that was called a “him” and it was said that “…to him was given the key of the bottomless pit”? How can that star in Rev. 9 not be an angel? So we have established the fact (in a manner of logical argumentation that would hopefully make the David Reid proud) that there is no way the morning stars could be real stars. The stars were singing when the Earth was initially created in Gen. 1:2 and the real stars were not created until the fourth day. Stars are consistently a symbolic representation in Scripture of angels, which means that the morning stars can be nothing other than angels. We also established that Lucifer, who was the anointed Cherub that covereth, was in charge of music, and this means that Job 38:7 is definitive proof that angels sing, which is one of the many ways that they continually worship God in Heaven, as we observed back in Neh. 9.
So let me ask this question. Is there a distinction between the morning stars and the sons of God? Turn to Rev. 22. The last chapter of the Bible and the second to last quotation from the Lord Jesus Christ. Rev 22:16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, andthe bright and morning star. The Lord declares himself to be THE bright and morning star. Why? Because He is THE STAR that rises out of Jacob who will deliver Israel from all her enemies and establish His kingdom on the Earth. Bullinger made the point, which I very much appreciated, that this verse may be tied to Num. 24:17-18, which I’ve covered in podcast, so I’m only going to read these verses. Num 24:17 I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth. Num 24:18 And Edom shall be a possession, Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies; and Israel shall do valiantly. Now these verses are prophecies about David who fulfilled every word that was said about him. You can turn to verses to see each one of these prophecies about David being fulfilled. The prophecies said that the star rising out of Jacob will smite the corners of Moab which David literally fulfilled in 2 Sam. 8:2. Etc. But the prophecies about David are also prophecies about David as a type of Christ, the great, the bright and morning star who shall rise out of Jacob and deliver Israel from all her enemies. I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel… Now you consider what is said of Lucifer in Isa 14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! Why is Lucifer called the son of the morning? It may be that Christ is the bright morning star. Lucifer is called the son of the morning and he was a Cherubim, the elite class of angels in Heaven in charge of song, and so the morning stars, the angels that sang at the dawn of creation, are probably in my opinion a reference to the elite angels, definitely the Cherubims and maybe even the Seraphims, because as I said, those two groups are the elite class of angels who are distinct and yet, they’re very similar and may be related. So you see the connection. Christ, the bright morning star. Lucifer, a Cherubim, the son of the morning. Thus, all morning stars are Cherubims and maybe even Seraphims. Some might think, “That’s a pretty threadbare connection.” Well, there is no other connection that can be made in Scripture to explain the morning stars.
Let’s tie it all together.
Job 38:7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? What are we looking at in this verse? I think the morning stars is a broad term for the elite class, the Cherubims and maybe even the Seraphims, and the sons of God are all the other angels. Is it possible to sing and shout at the same time? Yes. I would refer to you to the hymn Saved by the Blood. Plus, we all know in our grace churches that those who cannot sing overcompensate by shouting. I would also say this. I think the singing and shouting are the same event, but the Lord used the word shouting to describe the over-exuberance with which the angels sang praises to the Lord. They were so overjoyed they went beyond singing to the point of screaming their praise!
Let me ask another question. Why does the Lord call Himself the bright and morning star and why are the elite classes of angels called the morning stars? Why morning? Some books would point out that the morning star is most commonly used as a name for the planet Venus when it appears in the east before sunrise. Some would also say it’s a name for the star Sirius, which appears in the sky just before sunrise from early July to mid-September. But I would argue that they are called morning for neither of those reasons. I would argue that Christ calls Himself the bright morning star because of Scripture, because of the prophecies about Him as the star rising out of Jacob who shall deliver Israel from her enemies and establish His kingdom here on Earth. So why are the elite classes of angels called morning stars? Some tried to make the case that they’re morning stars because the stars at night are heralding the coming rising of the Sun, which is also a symbol of the Lord Jesus Christ, called the Sun of Righteousness in Mal. 4:2. Some might say that they’re morning stars because they were here at the dawn of creation singing songs of praise to God. But I would say, they are the morning stars because of that reference to Lucifer in Isa. 14:12 when he was called son of the morning. Those elite classes of angels are in many ways a reflection of Christ Himself, in their own way created in the image and likeness of Christ. They’re wise, mighty, obedient, holy, elect, powerful.
So let me ask another question. Is it possible that the morning stars singing and the sons of God shouting for joy include Lucifer and his angels before they rebelled? In fact, I think it is possible. I just throw this theory out there for you to chew on yourself. It may be possible that the reference to sons of God is a reference to all of Satan’s angels before they fell because all the other references to sons of God as angels in the OT are all references to the fallen angels. Now I believe fallen angels created the Nephilim because of Jude 6-7. Jud 1:6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. Jud 1:7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. Hal told me yesterday, there’s nothing ambiguous about these verses. It’s the angels who left their first estate that gave themselves over to fornication and went after strange flesh just like Sodom and Gomorrha. But the bigger point is this. All of the other references to the sons of God in the OT outside of Job 38:7 are all references to the fallen angels. In Job. 1:6 and 2:1 it’s the sons of God who had to present themselves to the Lord along with Satan. We have in Gen_6:2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. Plus, we find in Gen_6:4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. How can these verses not be connected to Jude 6-7? I only share all of this to suggest that the reference to the sons of God may also be a reference to the fallen angels before they fell. So, before they fell, they knew God. They all together praised Him for all His glory when He created the Earth, which makes their rebellion all the more tragic, because they knew God personally, they knew of His goodness, and they still tried to usurp His throne.
So all of this brings up another question: when did they fall? Now some who support the Gap Theory would argue that Satan’s fall is what made the Earth without form and void in Gen. 1:2. They took God’s new creation and messed it up. Then why would God consistently call His creation good if the Earth had already been tainted, been made unclean, by Satan messing it up? It seems logical to me that the fall had to have occurred on or after the seventh day.
There is also a third reference to a morning star that has to be addressed. Turn to Rev. 2. These are passages I turn to often to make the point that, I think, it’s a timeless principle that the quality of your service to the Lord will determine forever, your placement in the kingdom of God. Just as it was for the Jews, so it is also true for us. Look at Rev 2:26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: Rev 2:27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. Rev 2:28 And I will give him the morning star. What does he mean by that? In what sense will he give this man who overcomes the Tribulation and keeps His Word until the end, how will he be given the morning star? I suspect that this, too, goes back to Num. 24:17. He will be part of the rising star out of Jacob who shall deliver Israel from her enemies, and he shall be given a ruling position over those nations with God’s marching orders of ruling over them with a rod of iron with the ability to break them as pottery broken to pieces. And this man will be in his glorified resurrected body, freed from sin, filled with the Spirit, and he’ll rule over them as righteously as Christ Himself. For a Jew, this is a position in the kingdom so glorious, you almost want to go through the Tribulation just to be able to get that job.
We’ll close with this. Turn to Eph. 5. How do you make application after a study like this? I say sing like the morning stars. Eph 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Eph 5:19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;Eph 5:20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Eph 5:21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. We often make the point that we should not be under the influence of alcohol, but we should be under the influence of the Spirit. And what follows is evidence of those who are under the full influence of the Spirit. They are speaking to themselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in [their hearts] to the Lord; Eph 5:20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Eph 5:21 Submitting [themselves] one to another in the fear of God. Are you under the full influence of the Spirit? How often do you do these same things on a daily basis? The point is – we should continually sing and praise God and thank God and submit ourselves just like… the morning stars.