The Corrupt Sons of God & The City of Refuge

In the Old and New Testaments, the holy people of heaven are called by various names: the angels in heaven (Matthew 22:30), a great company of the heavenly host (Luke 2:13) or the sons of God (Job 38:7; Genesis 6:1-3).

Like human society, in heaven there is a king as well as officials, soldiers and people. The heavenly host or angel is the name given to the workers of God, and the name sons of God are applied to the holy people heaven. Even so, the heavenly hosts or angels are not different from the sons of God but the same, because all of them are created with God’s breath of life. So we will be like angels at the resurrection. As it is written:

Luke 20:36 “and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection.”

Such precious spirits sinned against God, being tempted by Satan. As unconvicted prisoners, they are now seeking God’s favor in this city of refuge.

Among the twelve tribes of Israel, there were six cities of refuge under Moses’ law (Numbers 35:10-15; Deuteronomy 19:1-10; Joshua 20:9). If anyone accidentally killed a person, he could flee to the cities and be protected from the hands of the blood avenger.

If a man struck someone while fighting so that he died, he was to be put to death. Even though he fled to the city of refuge, if proven guilty after thorough investigation, he was to be handed over to the avenger of blood for execution by the elders of the city. But if a man killed another unintentionally and fled to the city of refuge before the avenger of blood caught him, he could save his own life. he was to stay there until the death of the high priest who was anointed with the holy oil. Afterwards, he was free to return to his home (Numbers 35:15-32) –spiritually this represents the heavenly country.

This is a shadow of a real event that occurred in heaven. We are God’s sons who sinned unintentionally, being tempted by Satan, and fled to this sinful world – the city of refuge. Like the case of the city of refuge under Moses’ law, we are released from this city of refuge and return to the heavenly country by the death of Jesus Christ – the Holy High Priest. Among all men born into this world, those whose souls will not be saved have been predestined to serve Satan from the beginning. As Satan’s fallen angels, they will afflict God’s people (II Corinthians 11:14-15).

The prophet Ezekiel described how the king of Tyre had been in heaven before he was born into this world (Ezekiel 28:12-16).

Even Jesus revealed the truth of what happened in heaven through the many parables that He told, all of which were based on truth, not falsehood (Luke 15:4-7).

And it says: “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” Luke 19:10

The above passage refers to our past, present and future. Every parable spoken by Jesus is important; for it contains God’s mysterious secrets of the past and the future. As it is written in Matthew 13:10-11; 34-35.

Jesus’ Soul & Our Soul

Our previous life can be accurately explained through the life of Jesus. Jesus’ appearance was just like men’s, so His neighbors could not find any difference between Him and ordinary people. They said: “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas?” (Matthew 13:55).

Jesus appeared in teh same form as us, in order to help us realize that we are just like Him in body and in soul and understand the fundemental truth of our previous and future life. If Jesus’ body and soul were different from ours, we wouldn’t be able to believe that we will resurrect or go to the kingdom of heaven and we would come to the conclusion that we will not be in the same state as Jesus. However, if we understand that Jesus’ life and state are the same as ours, we will be able to believe that we are going to heaven.

First, we need to look into Jesus’ life and state, both before and after His life on earth, through His words in the Bible.

Jesus prayer the closing prayer at the Last Passover Supper as follows: John 17:5-10. This prayer is for the recovery of the glory Jesus had with His people before the world began. It says in the Bible that Jesus Christ was with God and came to us (I John 1:2, John 6:62). Before Jesus came into this world, He existed as the Word of God (John 1:1-5, 14), and the Word created all things (Colossians 1:14-17; I Corinthians 8:6). Jesus is our Lord, who is worthy of having equal authority with God (John 10:30, Philippians 2:6-7, Isaiah 9:6).

Even Christ, the Word of the Creator, took on human flesh and was born into the world through the Virgin Mary. How much more can the spirits of God’s sons, created by God, wear the body and be born as men! There is no difference between Jesus and us in spiritual state except in rank. Ordinary people are the angels, or the holy people of heaven, who sinned and were born as men; they were all driven our from heaven because they rebelled against God, being tempted by Satan. Among them, some sinned intentionally, being tempted, and were unjustly accused and hurled to the earth. To seek and to save them, Jesus Himself came into this sinful world. As it is written:

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” Luke 19:10

Where Does the Human Soul Come From?

When we study the subject of the soul, we must answer the following three questions: First, where does our soul come from? Second, why does our soul put on flesh and live in this sinful world? And third, where does our soul go after we die? These three questions are very important for the hope of all mankind.

Without knowing where we are from, how can we know where we are going? Now, let’s look carefully at the words of Jesus who gives definite answers to all these questions and the profound truths of the Creator spoken through the prophets, passed on over thousands of years.

Solomon said: “The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises…. what has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun…” Ecclesiastes 1:5-11

Apostle Paul wrote: “If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return.”

This verse means that if anyone does not think of the country he left, he has no opportunity to return. Certainly there is a place where the human soul comes from and where it goes. The body is born and perishes in this world, but the soul returns to wherever it came from. So the forefathers of faith admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth (Hebrews 11:13-16). When Jacob, the forefather of Israel, was asked how old he was, he replied to Pharaoh, king of Egypt, as follows: “The years of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty” (Genesis 47:8-9).

All the above words spoken by the forefathers of faith tell us that all men in this world are aliens and strangers who have come from heaven, their previous world. Nevertheless, there are not many who think of their own country. It’s because they completely lost their memory of the previous life by putting on the veil of sin. The prophet Isaiah wrote in regard to this matter as follows:

“But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” Isaiah 59:2

In the spiritual world, we were noble angels, or the sons of God. However, because of our sin we have to come to this world; our spiritual eyes are covered with the veil of sin, so that we cannot see the things of the heavenly country. But sometimes we are unwittingly reminded of our previous life in heaven. It’s because our soul, given by God, occasionally transcends the veil of our sinful flesh and looks at the heavenly country.

The Soul Who Sins Will Die

Some say that the human soul no longer exists after death, because it is written: “When you eat of it you will surely die” (Genesis 2:17) and “The soul who sins is the one who will die” (Ezekiel 18:4). Of course, it is true that when a sinner dies, his souls also dies. But the death of the body differs from that of the soul, because the body is formed from the dust of the ground and the spirit is given by God (Ecclesiastes 12:7).

The death of the body is the first death, and the death of the soul is the second death (Luke 12:4-5; Revelation 20:6, 14) The first death, the death of the body, is due to the sin of the flesh inherited from Adam, the ancestor of all men (Romans 5:12-18; I Corinthians 15:47-50). And the second death, the death of the soul, is due to an individual sin committed in the angelic world. The Bible says that each one will be judged according to what he has done (Revelation 20:14-15). What each one did in the angelic world is to be done again in this world; he is to be judged both in body and in soul.

What Church of God World Mission Society says about the soul is different than the theory of the human soul’s immortality that other churches teach, but the Biblical teaching that not only the soul who sins but also the angels who sin will be judged and put to death after all. The Apostle Paul said: “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgement” (Hebrews 9:27). Everyone dies after his physical death, his soul is judged according to what he has done (Romans 2:6-10; Revelation 20:12).

Luke 12:47-48 That servant who knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows.

The above verses clearly show that on the Day of Judgment each person will be punished according to his deeds- according to the degree of his sin – for an hour or a day or a generation. After being punished, the soul perishes forever. This is the second death. But the devil and the false prophets, who have deceived the nations, will be tormented day and night for ever and ever (Revelation 20:10).

Those Who Insist That There Is No Soul

First, let’s listen to the words of those who deny the soul, and continue our study of the soul.

In the Bible, the word “soul” has two meanings. In the Old Testament it means the life of the living, and in the New Testament it literally means the spirit of the dead. The sould usually means the spirit of the dead, but it also refers to the living because it also exists in a living person.

However, some deny the soul and disregard all the testimonies of the soul spoken by Jesus and the apostles. They study only the Old Testament written under the dim moonlight, so that they cannot reach the truth. Even if there are hundreds of records about the soul in the Old Testament, what is important is to focus on the words of Jesus the Owner of the soul and the words of the apostles taught by Him. We must continue our study based on their words.

Those who deny the soul’s existance quote verses only from the Old Testament; it’s because they can’t find a single verse that denies the soul in the New Testament. However, the Old Testament verses do not deny the soul, either. As it is written in Psalm 6:5 Studying this verse carefully in the context, we can see that these words do not mean that no one has the spirit after death, but that no one can give thanks to God in the grave unless he is saved. So it is written Psalm 6:1-4, Psalm 115:17-18; Psalm 146:3-4; Ecclesiastes 9:5-10; Ecclesiastes 3:19-20.

Literally, all the above verses seem to mean that when a man dies, his spirit ceases to exist and his fate is like that of the animals after death. However, the following verses in the same book clearly testify about the spirit: Ecclesiastes 3:21; Ecclesiastes 12:7.

There cannot be any contradisctions in the same book written by the same person. The reason there seems to be a contradiction is because the words for the body and the words for the soul are recorded separately. In the book of Job, it is written:

Job 14:10 But man dies and is laid low; he breathes his last and is no more (Job 17:13-16).

Reading the above words carefully we can see it is referring to the body. Job uttered those words when he had no hope for resurrection and eternal life. (Job 14:7-14). Job spoke these words without any hope for resurrection. This shows that he uttered the words without knowledge of the soul. Some think that every word of the Bible is spoken from God. They are greatly mistaken. The 66 books of the Bible contain words uttered by hundreds of different people. These words are grouped into 3 kinds: true teachings given by the Holy Spirit, the words against God’s will, and the mistaken words from men’s opinions. so we should look at the context of each verse carefully to find its correct meaning.

In Studying the Soul

In studying the Bible, we should first know the purposes of the Old and New Testaments. The teachings of the New Testament are different from those of the Old Testament. So when we study the Old Testament, it seems to contradict the New Testament, and when we study the New Testament, it seems to contradict the Old Testament.

Biblicists generally interpret the words of the Old Testament and of the New Testament in the same way. Of course, some verses may have the same meaning, but in fact there is a great difference between the two Testaments: They are as different as heaven and earth, the sun and the moon, actuality and shadow, reality and copy. When we understand this, we will find the profound truth of the New Testament which is the reality, through the Old Testament that is the shadow, without any conflict between the two (Ephesians 3:5).

The Old Testament is a shadow of the things to come in the New Testament times; and the New Testament is a reality to teach directly the profound truth revealed to the apostles and the prophets by the Holy Spirit. Indeed, the Old Testament functions as a shadow to dimly show the things to come in the New Testament times. The Old Testament is a teaching for physical happiness and blessings of the earthly ones, as it is written in Deuteronomy 28:1-6. But in the New Testament Jesus said, “How hard is it for the rich to enter the kingdom of GOD! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of GOD.” Mark 10:23-25.

In the Old Testament, it was a blessing to live long. But in the New Testament, to die every day for Christ is a blessing.

Thus, when we study the soul, we have to understand that there is a difference between the Old Testament and the New Testament. In other words, the Old Testament was like the dim moonlight reflecting the sunlight – the New Testament – to come later; so it could not reveal the profound truth of the soul clearly. Now, the dim moonlight has passed and the sunlight has come. The New Testament brings to light the truth of the soul which was seen dimly. If we only look at the Old Testament, the human soul seems to disappear after death. But the New Testament clearly shows that the human soul continues to exist even after death. However, we cannot come to a definite conclusion only through the New Testament. By connecting and studying both the Old and New Testaments, we can find the fundamentals of the soul and reach its perfect truth.

The fundamentals of the soul can be sought from the question: “Where does our soul come from?” If we get a correct answer to this question, we will find the perfect truth without contradiction.

Let’s next study how the soul is formed and where it comes from.

The Law Was Established So That the Trespass Might Increase

God placed the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden, because Adam and Eve were not perfect. To the perfect beings, any law does not become a hindrance. As it is written:

1 Timothy 1:9 We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious;

To those who are not perfect, the law becomes a great hinderance. In regard to this, the Apostle Paul said:

Romans 7:10-11 “I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death.

In Eden, the commandment was this: “Do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” However, Satan deceived Eve into eating from the forbidden tree and she gave some to Adam and he ate it, and they came to die (Gen. 3:1-6). The commandment was intended to bring life, but men broke it and became slaves to death after all. As it is written:

Romans 5:20-21 “The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

God’s administration is profound and mysterious. In the Garden of Eden, God established a law – “Do not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil,” but the law brought death. On Mount Sinai, the Ten Commandments were given to the Israelites as a law, but it also resulted in death for them (Romans 7:9-11). Christ came to the earth to save men destined to die. Whoever believes in Him is to be saved (John 3:4-18; Romans 3:21-26).

While Adam led many people to sin by his natural body, Jesus led many to eternal life by His spiritual body; He came to save the souls who were destined to die because of Adam’s sin, leaving the glorious throne. In regard to this, the Apostle Paul wrote that is it sown a natural and it is raised a spiritual body (I Corinthians 15:42-49).

Some may ask, “Why does God forsake the many in order to save the few?” The reason many are forsaken is that a large number of angels committed sin deserving death by rebelling against God in the world of angels. Just thinking of the human world, the number of the forsaken seems to be very large. But considering the vast angelic world of the whole universe, it is quite small. If some are saved as a little flock among many doomed to death, their glory will reach heaven. How much will they thank their Redeemer for His grace? By saving the few, God makes the redeemed know the glory of their Redeemer (Romans 9:21-24).

God made a large number of pottery for common use, in order to make known His glory to the pottery for noble purposes. He reveals His mysterious and profound administration only to the few, through many tests, so that they may give glory to Him.

To Seek & to Save What Was Lost

Luke 15:4-7

This parable shows some hidden secrets of the angelic world: The ninety-nine sheep represent ninety-nine righteous persons in heaven who do not need to repent- they are the heavenly angels called the sons of God, and the lost one sheep represents the lost one sinner. Jesus lost one sheep out of a hundred in heaven; He came into the world to seek and to save the lost sheep from heaven (Luke 19:10). Jesus spoke many things in parables; He didn’t speak anything without using a parable, so that He might seek His own people.

Matthew 13:34-35 “I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world.”

God’s secret hidden since the creation of the world is His administration of redemption by which He chose us in the angelic world (Ephesians 1:3-9) Jesus said:

Matthew 13:10-11 “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them.”

Matthew 13:14-17 “In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.'”

The above verses show that those who are to be saved were already chosen in Christ before the creation of world. Therefore the “ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent in heaven” in Luke 15:7 are thousands upon thousands of angels in heaven; as it is written in Hebrews 12:22-23, “…to Mount Zion, to the heavenly  Jerusalem, the city of the living God… to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven… to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect.”

In regard to whom God has chosen, some may test God, saying, “If God has chosen me, I will be saved; and if He hasn’t, I will not be saved.” They may neglect God’s calling, behaving imprudently in church. To such people the Bible says: “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” Matthew 4:7

It is not because God needed us that He chose us from eternity, but because He had pity on us who were destined to die because of minor sins committed in the world of angels. As it is written:

Revelation 2:10 “Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.”

If the chosen become so imprudent as to rebel against God, they will be driven out and their places will be taken by those who force their way into heaven though they were destined to be destroyed (Matt. 11:12, Luke 16:16).

About Angels

Some churches say that angels function as the Holy Spirit. However, there is not a single verse in the 66 books of the Bible which says that angels are the Spirit, or that they function as the Spirit. The Apostle Paul wrote:

Hebrews 1:14 Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?

In the Bible, angels are described in the plural, but the Spirit is described in the singular.

I Corinthians 12:13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body… and we were all given the one Spirit to drink (cf. Ephesians 4:4-6).

Thus, angels are many, but the Spirit is one. Angels can rebel against God and be cast into hell (2 Peter 2:4). The saved people can judge angels (I Corinthians 6:3). There are some records saying that angels are put to judgement, but no record says that the Spirit is put to judgement.

The Bible say that the Spirit searches all things – even the deep things of God (I Corinthians 2:10) – but angels do not know the mysterious administration of God. As it is written:

I Peter 1:12 …when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.

It is written that angels long to look into the gospel preached by the Holy Spirit. This is evidence there is basically a great difference between angels and the Holy Spirit. The Bible describes angels as “the angels of the Lord” or “the heavenly hosts” or “the sons of God.” Sometimes people mistake the angel of the Lord for the Lord Himself (Ex. 3:2-5; Judg. 6:12-23; 13:21-22). However, “the angel of the Lord” cannot change into “the Lord.” The reason they confuse the angel of the Lord with the Lord Himself is because they misinterpret the Bible without grasping the correct meaning from the context. As it is written:

Judges 6:12 When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” As the angel of the Lord testified to the Lord, they came to call the angel the Lord.

The Lord always walks with His angel. That’s why sometimes people mistake the angel of the Lord for the Lord Himself when they read the Bible. Angels are creatures of God; they are called the sons of God or the hosts of heaven (I Kings 22:19; Daniel 7:9-10). Angels are messengers send by God into the world; sometimes they destroy people (Ex. 12:13; 2 Kings 19:35; Ezekiel 9:1-6; Ps. 78:49), and sometimes they guard individual men (Ex. 23:20; Dan. 10:13).

Teachings about angels were better understood in the New Testament times. The Bible does not describe angels in detail. Some verses say that they protect each person, following him all the time. As it is written:

Hebrews1:14 “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” And Jesus said:

Matthew 18:10-11 “See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.”

When Peter was in prison, an angel rescued him on the Passover night. The news reached the saints praying in Mark’s attic. Then they were surprised and said, “It must be his angel” (Acts 12:1-15). Angels always follow and guard those who will inherit salvation. When we do good, they speak boastingly of us before God and other angels. When we do wrong, they worriedly report to God. Angels can easily come and go to the throne of God, carrying our prayers or reports; and sometimes they bring the tidings of salvation to us. Therefore angels have a close relationship with men. Studying the relationship between the angels and men who sinned, we will discover the deep secrets about God’s administration of redemption. Angels are invisible to the human eye. But in the eyes of God they have a certain form; they cannot hide anywhere in the spiritual world even for a split second.

The Bible says that angels are spirits (Hebrews 1:14). The breath of life God breathes into men is also called a spirit (Hebrews 12:23). Jesus says that at the resurrection we will be like the angels in heaven (Matthew 22:30; cf. Mark 12:25; Luke 20:36).

Then, do men exist first and become angels later? Or are the angels born as human beings by committing sin and then become angels again to return to their heavenly home through the grace of Christ? We must find a definite answer to this question.

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