Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Fall of the Angels in Scripture

Over at the Holy Culture Radio forum, someone asked me for the Scriptural support for the Fall of the Angels. Here was my answer:
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To refresh our memory, here was my statement:
Before the Earth was created, a war was waged in heaven. The angels too had a choice to accept or reject the Lord. It was a one-time choice: yes or no, and their answer was ratified for all time. The devil and his cohorts chose no, so they were cast out of heaven by the faithful angels, the Archangel Michael at the helm
In Gen 3, we see that there already existed a spirit of evil who tempted man into pride. There must have been some type of fall among the angels that caused some of them (or at least one of them) to be evil. Job 4:18 says "Even in his servants he puts no trust, and his angels he charges with error". Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 are traditionally seen as also referring to this fall of the angels:
Isa 14:12-15 "How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! 13 You said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far north; 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High.' 15 But you are brought down to Sheol, to the depths of the Pit.

Ezek 28:12-19 "Son of man, raise a lamentation over the king of Tyre, and say to him, Thus says the Lord GOD: "You were the signet of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13 You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, carnelian, topaz, and jasper, chrysolite, beryl, and onyx, sapphire, carbuncle, and emerald; and wrought in gold were your settings and your engravings. On the day that you were created they were prepared. 14 With an anointed guardian cherub I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God; in the midst of the stones of fire you walked. 15 You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you. 16 In the abundance of your trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned; so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God, and the guardian cherub drove you out from the midst of the stones of fire. 17 Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I exposed you before kings, to feast their eyes on you. 18 By the multitude of your iniquities, in the unrighteousness of your trade you profaned your sanctuaries; so I brought forth fire from the midst of you; it consumed you, and I turned you to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all who saw you. 19 All who know you among the peoples are appalled at you; you have come to a dreadful end and shall be no more for ever."
One can't help but see the fall of the angels in these passages. This same imagery is used by Jesus when he says, "I saw Satan fall like lightening from heaven" (Lk 10:18). Perhaps the most explicit reference is from 2 Pet 2:4, where it is written, "For if God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of nether gloom to be kept until the judgment...".

So, we see from these verses that there was a fall among the angels and that once they chose evil they were expelled from heaven. That their expulsion was lead by St. Michael is one of the most endearing and enduring Christian symbols. He is always seen as fighting against evil. See the following passages from Daniel and Jude:
Dan 10:13,21 The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, so I left him there with the prince of the kingdom of Persia [...] 21 But I will tell you what is inscribed in the book of truth: there is none who contends by my side against these except Michael, your prince.

Dan 12:1 "At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time; but at that time your people shall be delivered, every one whose name shall be found written in the book."

Jude 1:9 But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, disputed about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a reviling judgment upon him, but said, "The Lord rebuke you."
His role in the fall is most clearly seen in Rev 12:
Rev 12:7-9 Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8 but they were defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world--he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
So, that's what I was referring to in my original statement.

Pax Christi,
phatcatholic

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