Matthew 22:30 (Answering the Sadducees 10: Equal to Angels—A Bigger Picture)

Recall that in answering the Sadducees Jesus taught that in the resurrection men cannot die because they are equal to angels and are sons of God being sons of the resurrection (Luk 20:36).  For in that age the tree of life shall be restored to man.  Why was it that God prevented man from eating from the tree of life after he fell into sin?  Think: having fallen into sin to acquire the nature and character of Satan, if man had then eaten of the tree of life so as to never die could he have ever been redeemed?  Why not?  Think: was it not through death, and specifically the death of the Savior who would be born in the likeness of men, that redemption would come to fallen man[1]?  What does this remind us about why God may act in ways that at first may seem as if He is withholding from us something that has every appearance of being good?  Cf. Rom 8:28.

In what way was man’s redemption through the suffering and death of the Savior a demonstration not only to men of the nature and character of God and how much higher His ways are than ours, but also to angels?  Cf. 1Pe 1:10-12.  Consider then the part man appears to play in a much greater heavenly struggle than our own temporal struggle against sin on this earth; see Eph 6:12, Dan 10:12-13, as well as what was behind Job’s suffering (Job 1:6-12, 41:1-34).  Having fallen into the snare of the devil to become like “gods” knowing good and evil with the nature and character of Satan, with whom would man have been in league for all eternity had he also eaten of the tree of life?  Consider too that whereas there are myriads of angels, we believe that they were created directly, “sons of God”, offspring of the Father through His creative relationship with Christ the Son (Col 1:16), for there is no indication that they have any ability to reproduce themselves like—or at least apart from—men who are begotten[2].  If then fallen man had eaten of the tree of life to live forever in league with Satan, how would Satan have been able to add to his legions in his rebellion against God?  Cf. Gen 11:4.  What did God do to prevent this?  See Gen 3:23-24; cf. Job 38:11, Jer 5:22.  Nevertheless, even though man was prevented from eating from the tree of life to live forever with the nature and character of Satan, he was still a slave in Satan’s dominion of darkness, bound to sin while living and bound to die as a result; by what means did God then provide for man’s redemption?  See Heb 2:14-15, Col 1:13-14.

In light of the much greater heavenly struggle that man is a part of, in what way was his redemption a much greater victory than for just man here on earth?  See Eph 1:9-10 and consider: Satan rebelled against God to follow his own will which we see reflected in all the ways of the world that surround us, for he is the god of this world; what did God’s victory that redeemed man through weakness, humility and even death demonstrate not only to men but also to the angels in heaven about the superior power of His nature and character?  See Eph 3:10-11, Col 1:16,19-20; cf. Phil 2:10, 1Pe 3:18-19.  What does this also help us understand about the significance that those who are saved are seated with Christ in the heavenly places (Eph 2:4-6) and shall even judge angels (1Co 6:3)?  See again Luk 20:36.  When compared then with the role of God’s mighty angels in His eternal kingdom and plan for eternity (cf. 2Ki 6:15-17, Psa 68:17, Mat 26:52-53), shall we view the role of man who was created lower than the angels as some small thing?  In what way is it precisely man’s lowly nature, made even lower by his sin, and death, that makes his role a big thing?  Think: what does God’s redemption of lowly man to be equal to the angels by sending His own Son to die for him teach even the mighty angels about the counterintuitive nature of God and where true strength and glory are to be found?  Cf. Psa 8:3-5, Phil 2:5-11.  Why is this?  See Jam 4:6.  Considering that in the resurrection men shall be equal to the holy angels who do the will of the Father even as Christ also demonstrated as a man, what should the aspirations be now for those who desire to be considered worthy to attain to the resurrection from the dead (Luk 20:35)?  See Joh 14:21, 15:10.

Summarizing then, consider that Satan tempted men to become like God / gods / angels, knowing good and evil, to lead man into the sin and rebellion that he himself was engaged in.  Man ate of the forbidden fruit and fell into sin as his eyes were opened and came to know good and evil like God and the angels, but with the nature of Satan god not Jehovah God.  Had he also eaten of the tree of life he would have lived forever like the angels but with the cursed nature of Satan and with no hope of redemption.  Thus God drove man from the garden and set a guard to prevent him from eating from the tree of life even while He set in motion a plan not only to redeem man from his fallen state but to demonstrate to all of creation the superiority of His nature and character, reflected in the way of the cross, to the nature and character of Satan, reflected in the ways of the world.  Having died with Christ to his sinful nature, in his redemption man shall be resurrected to become a righteous son of God, a partaker of His divine nature, and shall also partake of the tree of life and live forever never to die, no longer lower than the angels, but equal to them, sharing their glory and access to God, always beholding the face of their Father in heaven (Mat 18:10).  And although created lower than the angels, he shall even judge angels, so that Satan’s planned evil that sought to enlist man in his rebellion against God is turned back on itself and justly recompensed.  See again Eph 1:9-10, Col 1:19-20.

 


1. This is one reason that argues for why Satan and his fallen angels are beyond redemption: besides not sharing the common blood of humanity of which Christ partook for men’s redemption, because angels cannot die they cannot be redeemed, for without the shedding of life-blood unto death which is the wages of sin there is no forgiveness (Heb 9:22); cf. Heb 2:16-17.

2. Recall Gen 6:1-4 and Jude 1:6 which indicate that “the sons of God” were able to mate with “the daughters of men”, both before and after the flood producing a sort of half-breed, like crossing a horse and a donkey to get a mule.  Scripture calls these half-breeds the Nephilim, or fallen ones, and associates them with “men of renown” or “heroes of old” who were giants like Goliath (Num 13:33, cf. Deut 2:10-11,20-21, 3:11 and Gen 14:5).  It is perhaps significant that angels in Scripture are always referred to or depicted in masculine terms, never as female, making it possible that all of the angels are male in nature, even as man was when originally created until God took from him one of his ribs to create the woman, and as God Himself is depicted, even though Christ the Son is described as coming out from the Father the same way that woman was taken out of man.  This might make us wonder if perhaps there is something more behind the sin of sodomy than just sexual perversion, perhaps reflecting and inspired by a degeneracy of the fallen angels; see Jude 1:6-7.

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