Isa 42:8 There Is No Hierarchy in Heaven
#1. My Glory Will I Not Give to Another (Isa 42:6-9, 43:5-7, 48:10-11)
#2. No Hierarchy Among the Angels in Heaven (Psalm 34:7, Ex 3:2, , Rev 12:7-9, Luke )
#3. No Hierarchy Among the Saints in Heaven (Rom -32, Gen 15:1, , 1Sam 2:8)
Please open your Bibles to the Prophecy of Isaiah, Isa 42:6 (2X). The title of our sermon today is, “There Is No Hierarchy in Heaven” (2X). You might think by yourself, “Who cares?” And you might wonder if your pastor has been vacationing with the philosophers of this world. Not at all! This is a very fundamental principle with all kinds of practical consequences. First we must ask ourselves:
According to Webster’s Dictionary, a hierarchy is a body of persons in authority. To say it in another way, a hierarchy is a sequence of people representing a chain of command. For example, the ruling body of a church or of a denomination is organized into orders or ranks where each one is subordinate to the rank above him. Likewise, the government of any country is organized in terms of a hierarchy. In other words, in a hierarchy the person at the top has delegated some of his authority and responsibility to people in the level below him, and the people of that level have delegated some of their authority and responsibility to people in the next level below them, and so on. Thus the structure of the whole organization looks like a pyramid. This is the hierarchy of our government on this earth. Now, the question that I want to tackle is this: Is there also a hierarchy in heaven? Let God answer this question. #1. My Glory Will I Not Give to Another (Isa 42:6-9, 43:5-7, 48:10-11)
Isa 42:6-7 I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.
Isa 42:8-9 I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images. Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.
Who is God addressing here in this passage? We can see that if we go to the beginning of this chapter. There we see clearly that only the Lord Jesus Christ is in view. He is the only one who shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles, which means that He shall extend the judgment of His cross to the elect among the Gentiles, so that their sins are also judged in Christ. We see in verse 6 that only Christ can be given for a Covenant of the people and for a spiritual Light to the Gentiles, for He said “I Am the Light of the World”. Only Christ can open the blind eyes of those that are in spiritual darkness, which are those who are held captive in the prison house of Satan. We see then that God has delegated the process of salvation altogether to the Lord Jesus Christ? But Christ is God! And that is why He can say, “My glory will I Not give to another”. The work of salvation was delegated to Christ, as we can read in verses 6 and 7, but this delegation is within the Godhead. All the credit for someone’s salvation goes entirely to God in Christ. He will not share this glory with anyone else outside the Godhead, for this would be equivalent to sharing His glory with graven images. Since the angels are ministering spirits to God’s elect, do the angels share in this glory for the salvation of some? Absolutely not, for God says, “My glory will I Not give to another”. God takes full credit for all that the angels do in ministering to God’s elect. Please turn to the next chapter, to Isa 43:5 (2X). There God again emphasizes that He alone takes all the credit for the salvation of His elect people. God says in Isa 43:5-7,
Isa 43:5 Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west;
Isa 43:6-7 I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.
God emphasizes that He alone takes the glory for creating His elect people, which is the remnant chosen by grace out of all nations and kindreds and people and tongues, chosen by Him from before the foundation of the world. These words do not refer to the gathering of the descendants of Jacob after the Babylonian captivity, but to the gathering of God’s elect in the NT period of time, for God speaks about His sons and His daughters, and we know that this can only apply to those who will be saved. We are His sons and His daughters, for Christ said to those who did not believe in Him as the Messiah, “Ye are of your father the Devil”. Please turn now to chapter 48 of this Prophecy, Isa 48:10 (2X). There again God emphasizes that He will not share His glory with someone else. In this passage God addresses His elect people, and He says in Isa 48:10-11,
Isa 48:10 Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.
Isa 48:11 For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? And I will not give my glory unto another.
Verse 10 speaks of the Atonement of Christ on the cross. There Christ has refined us; He cleansed us by paying for our sins. There Christ endured the furnace of affliction in our place. He did not do it because were so lovely, or because we were so nice to believe in Christ, or because we were such worthy creatures, but He did it for His own sake (verse 11). He did it for His own glory. All the credit goes to Him, or else His name would be polluted. He will not share His glory with another. What this means is first of all, that the Arminian theology whereby we must accept the Lord Jesus as our Savior is an abomination to God, for then we would share the credit for our own salvation, which means that we would share the glory for our own salvation. God will not save anyone under this theology of lies. All those who believe such false teachers are still under the judgment of God, for they are not following Christ, but they are following a false prophet. Secondly, angels do not share the credit for the salvation, or for the sanctification of anyone, for God says that He will not share His glory with another. God does not delegate part of His authority or responsibility to angels, for all glory is ascribed to God in Christ. Thirdly, in ruling the realm of the angels God did not delegate part of His authority to some angels, as if there were some archangels appointed at a higher level than all the other angels. There is:
#2. No Hierarchy Among the Angels in Heaven (Psalm 34:7, Ex 3:2, , Rev 12:7-9, Luke )
Please turn in your Bibles to the prophecy of the Psalms, Psalm 34:7 (2X). Think of it. Why would angels need a hierarchy? Why would angels need another angel as their supervisor? Don’t they know what their task is? Of course they do! If they would not know what their task is every minute of the day then there would be sin in their angelic being, and that is impossible. There is no sin in elect angels. They function perfectly well without angelic supervisors, for they receive their instructions directly from God. Now, this is a direct consequence of the fact that God does not share His glory with another. How then should we understand the concept of ^ Angel of the Lord, or the archangel Michael, the archangel Gabriel, or the presence of guardian angels? Let us consider them one at a time. We read in Psalm 34:
Ps 34:7 The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.
Does this not convey the message that the Angel of the Lord receives some of the credit for saving people? First of all, we need to remember that the word “angel” in our KJ Bible is an interpretation by the KJ translators. Both in the OT Hebrew as well as in the NT Greek the meaning of the word “angel” really means “messenger”. Please turn in your Bibles to the prophecy of Exodus, Ex 3:2 (2X). Here in Ex 3 Moses went to see the bush that burned without being consumed. And as you know, God spoke to him out of the midst of the bush. We read that in Ex 3:4. But in Ex 3:2 we read:
Ex 3:2 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.
And thus God clearly identified “the Angel of the Lord” as representing God Himself. Moreover, in Ex God again identified “the Angel of the Lord” as God Himself. We read in Ex ,
Ex 14:19 And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them:
We know from other passages that the pillar of cloud by day and
the pillar of fire by night were manifestations of God as the protector
and guide of the children of
Please turn in your Bibles to the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Rev 12:7 (2X). Let us now look at the concept of Michael the archangel. We have already discussed this when we studied Rev 12, but to rake up your memory, let me briefly summarize what we have discussed there. The name Michael is really a question. Michael means, “Who Is Like God?” Can there be an angel who is like God? Would God give His glory to an angel? But that is absolutely impossible. Let us read in Rev 12:7-9,
Re 12:7-8 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
Re 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
Satan and his angels were cast out of heaven, and from verse 11 we understand that this occurred after Christ went to the cross. In human history, when was this point in time? It was at the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ into heaven, 40 days after His resurrection in the year AD 33. This was a real spiritual battle. Not only was Satan cast out of heaven, but according to Rev 20:3 he was cast into the Bottomless Pit, which is this earth, and according to Rev 20:2 he was bound with spiritual chains. And the Person who bound him has the key of the Bottomless Pit, as we read in Rev 20:1. Only Christ has the key of the Bottomless Pit. And therefore Michael is the same as the Lord Jesus Christ. Michael is not an angel because Christ is not an angel. The word “archangel” should have been translated “chief messenger”. And certainly Christ is the “Chief Messenger”, for in Mal 3:1 He is called “the Messenger of the Covenant”. Therefore, from Rev 12:7-9, as well as from Dan 12:1-3, we can solidly conclude that Michael is just another name from the Lord Jesus Christ. Please turn in your Bibles to the Gospel according to Luke, Luke (2X). Let us now consider the angel Gabriel. The name Gabriel means “Man of God”. That is a curious name for an angel, for an angel is never in the Bible called “a man”. Moreover, in Luke he is also called an “Angel of the Lord”. Both these facts are strongly indicate that the person Gabriel is actually another manifestation of the Lord Jesus Christ. We read in Luke 1:
Lu 1:19 And the angel answering said unto him, 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 bringing glad tidings. In fact, the name Gabriel appears four times in the Scriptures. In three of those four times Gabriel announces the coming of Messiah, and in two of those four times Gabriel announces the great apostasy of the church at the end of time. These are momentous tidings, not only tidings of great joy, but also warnings about the great apostasy that will envelop the whole earth. Other than the message of the cross, I cannot think of greater and more important messages than these. Must we then conclude that Christ has delegated the glory of bringing these messages to an angel? Absolutely not! For Christ Himself is the Chief Messenger of the Covenant, not Gabriel. The Lord has said that He will not share His glory with another, and certainly these momentous messages must have been brought by Christ Himself. Therefore we must conclude that Gabriel is also another manifestation of Christ. Let us print this firmly in our heads: “There is no hierarchy in heaven”. There is no hierarchy among the angels in heaven, for a hierarchy implies a delegation of authority and power and responsibility. And since God does not share His glory with another, He will not delegate a portion of His power and authority to angels or to other beings. But don’t we read about angels in the Bible? Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Hebrews, Heb (2X). Yes, angels are:
Last week during the morning Bible Study we encountered the topic of guardian angels. Where does
that idea come from? The Bible describes angels as ministering spirits, but nowhere do we read how these ministering spirits operate, and nowhere do we read that these ministering spirits should get any credit for their diligent work which they do for the glory of God. We read in Heb 1:13-14,
Heb 1:13-14 But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?
To which of the angels did God say, “Sit on my right hand?” To none of them! God said this only to Christ. The first 5 chapters of the Epistle to the Hebrews centers on the facts that Christ is far greater than the angels, and Christ is far greater than Moses, and Christ is far greater than any of the OT high priests. And then verse 14 states that angels are ministering spirits, to minister unto them who shall be called sons of God, the Bride of Christ, the New Jerusalem, and shall be heirs of the Paradise of God in the NH&NE. Please turn to the Gospel according to Matthew, Mat 4:6 (2X). How shall the angels minister unto us? We read in Psalm 91:11-12 these words:
Ps 91:11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
Ps 91:12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
Do these words refer to the ministry of the angels to us? The answer is NO! The Jews and the Christians and the Devil all agree that this is a Messianic Psalm. These words refer to the protection that Christ receives from the angels, for these words have been quoted by the Devil in Mat 4:6. One of the three temptations of Christ was that He should throw Himself from a pinnacle of the temple and land smoothly on the ground. All the Scribes and Pharisees would immediately recognize Him as the Messiah sent from heaven, and as a result Christ would not be crucified since all the Jews would honor Him as Lord. This was one of the Devil’s temptations. Notice how the Devil correctly quoted Psalm 91,
Mt 4:6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
Mt 4:7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
And so, we still do not know how the angels minister unto us. God is entirely silent about this. The Bible does not give angels any credits for their diligent work, for all the glory must go to God in Christ. From where then do we get any information about guardian angels? In fact, it is a relic from our Roman Catholic heritage. There are no guardian angels in the Bible, for God will not share His glory with another. If guardian angels truly exist then no one would ever have an accident, and no one would ever die. We need to scrap that idea as fast as we can, for it will eventually lead us to pray to our guardian angel, and that would be an horrible abomination to God. Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Hebrews, Heb (2X). We need to take our eyes off the angels and turn our eyes to Christ, for only Christ will succor us. Only Christ will speedily come to our aid, not angels. We read in Heb 2:16-18
Heb For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.
Heb 2:17-18 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.
In most churches these verses are badly mangled. Most of you have come out of churches where they teach you the wrong interpretation. They say, “Because Christ suffered and was tempted, He is able to come to the aid and have mercy on those who are also tempted and are suffering, for He has been there. He is able to feel your pains and your mental anguish because He has been there”. That is a bunch of nonsense. Christ is the all wise God, and He does not learn things through His suffering. O, in His humanity He did learn new things and He did learn what suffering is to a far greater extent than you or I will ever experience it. But when His suffering reached its climax His human nature had learned everything that His Divine nature could have taught Him, for on the cross He had to endure the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. That is a suffering so intense that only in His Divine nature could He endure it, for this required that He must understand the righteousness of God. But that is not what Heb is teaching us. Heb teaches us that Christ was tempted, but He remained without sin. And because He did not sin He qualified to be our merciful and faithful High Priest. Because He did not sin He qualified to make reconciliation for the sins of His people, for the Lamb of God must be without any blemish, or spot, or wrinkle. Because He did not sin He is able to come to the aid of His people who are suffering and are tempted, for He qualified to be our Redeemer. Only Christ shall come to our aid, not angels. In the Bible God says that angels exist, but God is silent about everything else concerning the angels. But how shall we understand the elevated position of the angel Lucifer who became Satan. How can we understand the boldness of Satan to tempt Christ?
Please turn in your Bibles to the Prophecy of Isaiah, Isa (2X). In the first 6 days God created the heavens and the earth, with everything in heaven and everything on earth. God saw everything that He has made, and behold, it was very good. Since God is not a liar everything in heaven also was very good. And since God does not share His glory with another there was no hierarchy in heaven. All the angels were on the same level, including the angel Lucifer. And all the angels were told that they were ministering spirits to the children of men, who eventually would rise to the status of sons of God. But then the angel Lucifer concocted a devious plan, and he conspired with other angels to make for themselves a kingdom of men that would totally eliminate God’s plan for a kingdom of men. Lucifer was no dummy. He did not deliberately send himself to Hell. He devised a plan that seemed like it was the perfect plan, so that he could become the king of his own kingdom of men, and be worshipped by them as God. And so, he tempted Adam and Eve to sin. This is what we understand from Isa 14:12-17
Isa How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
Isa For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
Isa I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
Isa Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
Isa 14:16-17 They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?
This was Lucifer’s desire and this is why he personally tempted Adam and Eve. This is how he conquered a kingdom for himself, and this is how he became Satan, the powerful red dragon with seven heads and ten horns as described in Rev 12. In the history that then followed God allowed Satan to continue as the head of this kingdom of men. And then we see the development of hierarchy, both in the spiritual kingdom of the fallen angels as well as in the kingdom of men. But now we see that several layers of authority are necessary, because of the presence of sin. Where there is no sin, such as in the realm of the elect angels who did not sin, no hierarchy is necessary, for everyone knows what his task is. But when sin is present disorder sets in, which makes it necessary that there are levels of authority among men who will forcefully impose order on the masses of mankind. You know the rest of the story. To the surprise of Satan God introduced the principle of substitution: Christ would substitute for those whom the Father has chosen to save, and Christ would satisfy the righteousness of God for these helpless people, by paying for their sins on the cross the full penalty that needed to be paid. These are the saints who shall inherit the new creation, which the Bride of Christ shall take possession of. Now let us see if there is hierarchy among the saints in the new creation. And we find that there is:
#3. No Hierarchy Among the Saints in Heaven (Rom -32, Gen 15:1, , 1Sam 2:8)
Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Romans, Rom (2X). In this Epistle to the Rom God tells us in verse 17 that if we are children of God we shall be heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ. To be heirs means that we have inherited something. And to inherit something means that we did not do any work in order to be placed on the list of heirs. We are made heirs as a totally free gift. To be heirs of God means that we inherit God. That is true, for God said in Gen 15:1, “Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward”. If we inherit God we inherit everything. We see that als
Ro ¶ What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
Ro 8:32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
If God delivered up His own Son for us, shall He not with him also freely give us “all things”? Of course He will give us all things He deems necessary for the salvation and for the sanctification of our soul in this life. But in our life in the NH&NE God will give us truly all things that He has. And when He has given us all things there will not be anything left that could be distributed among a few saints that needed extra rewards for the work they have done in this life. If God is not a liar, “all things” means all things. Could this mean that God gives the entire community of the saints all that He has and now all that He has will be distributed to the saints according to certain levels of rewards or certain levels of hierarchy? Absolutely not! Please turn in your Bibles to the Revelation of Jesus Christ, (2X). The Bible teaches that God will give to saint #1 all things that He has. Saint #1 will be king over the entire new creation that God has already made. Now comes saint #2 and he also receives all things that God has. Saint #2 will also be king over all of God’s new creation. Now comes saint #3, and he also will be made king over all of God’s creation. And so on. Every saint is made king over all of God’s creation, and there is no distribution like we know it here on earth. But there is no disorder because of this, for there is no sin in the new creation. There will be no jealousy for being co-heirs of God’s new creation. We will all be joint heirs with Christ, for Christ also will be King over all of God’s creation. Let us look at a couple verses that support this concept of our inheritance. The first one is .
Re To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
Notice that the throne here is a singular throne. It is the throne of God. To each one that over-cometh Christ will grant to sit in His throne. That is a promise to each one of His saints. And this promise is not for a few moments, or for a few years, but this promise is for all eternity. What an amazing promise! What an incredible gift. Please turn in your Bibles to the Prophecy of First Samuel, 1Sam 2:8 (2X). You have heard me quote this passage more than once, because it is so beautiful and so great and the love of God for His saints shines through so magnificently, I cannot get over it. God speaks here about the poor. We are those poor, for we have nothing to offer to God. All our riches and all our works are contaminated by sin. God speaks here also about beggars. We are those beggars, for we are unable to help ourselves. We are begging for the remission of our sins, for we know that we are sinners who deserve to go to Hell for our sins, and we are begging God to have mercy on us, and to pardon us so that we do not have to go to Hell. And what does God do? He not only pardons us, which is already a great gift, but then He lavishes His grace upon us so that He makes us sons of God. And here we see the difference between Mercy and Grace. Mercy is God withholding what we do deserve, Hell, and Grace is God giving us what we do not deserve, Heaven. We read in 1Sam 2:8,
1Sa 2:8 He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the LORD’S, and he hath set the world upon them.
He makes us inherit. Can you see that we have nothing to do with it? We cannot work for it, for He makes us inherit it. And what do we inherit? We inherit the throne of glory. It does not say, “We inherit thrones of glory”, but we inherit the throne of glory, singular. It is Christ’s throne, as we have already seen in . It is an unbelievably great gift that is given on top of the remission of all our sins. And so we see that there are no special rewards for a few of the saints. All the saints receive the same gift, and it is an incredibly great gift. But how shall we understand those verses that seem to teach that some of the saints receive a greater reward? Please turn in your Bibles to the Revelation of Jesus Christ, (2X). We read here about the twelve Apostles and:
Also we read here about the twelve tribes of the children of
Re And had a wall great and high, and had
twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which
are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of
Re -14 On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
God describes here in symbolic terms the wall around the New
Jerusalem. Why would the New Jerusalem need a wall? Please turn in your
Bibles to the Epistle to the Ephesians, Eph (2X). There were not twelve but thirteen
Eph 2:19-20 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
Eph In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
Eph In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
In verse 20 we see that the foundation of the Apostles is added to
the foundation of the Prophets. And what is that foundation? It is the Bible!
Our system of faith is built upon the teachings of the Bible, whereby Jesus
Christ is the chief cornerstone of all our Biblical teaching. And now we
understand the reason for the wall around the city. It is to keep out all that
is unbiblical or conflicts with the foundation. Let us summarize the
conclusions we have seen: There is no elevated status for the thirteen
apostles. Just like there is no elevated status for the thirteen tribes of