HF168 - The sons of God
It is time for a new study. I want to provide a study that will likely provoke good discussions. It has to do with a statement found in the former testament concerning the 'sons of God.' Yet we see this same term used for people of the new covenant. Let's see where the study goes.
This is Bible Study HF168 - The sons of God.
The term 'sons of God' is seen twice in the book of Genesis. Three times the same term is used in the book of Job. It seems unlikely that the Old Testament would use the same term for two separate entities.
Another thing that may tie all these expressions into one, is that the book of Job is considered by many to be the oldest book of the Bible. The language of Job is much more archaic than the language used in other Hebrew writings. It has words in it that are hard to translate. This is why you find differing translations on Job.
It appears that the story of Job had been around a long time and that God possibly put it in the hands of Moses while he was in the land of Midian. The land of Uz was in the middle of upper Arabia. The story had long been told there. Job was likely of the patriarchal or pre-patriarchal times.
Anyway, if we can contribute the story of Job to the writings of Moses, then we have the two books written by the same author. Would not the term 'sons of God' mean the same in both books? (The Fasset Dictionary has a good article on Job.)
Let's look at the book of Job: "Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the Lord." (Job 2:1 nasb. This is the second time this same statement is used.)
Isn't this an odd statement? Two questions are in place. Who are these sons of God? Why would Satan be among them to present himself before the Lord?
This is just my thoughts. It is possible that in God's original creation He first created a unique class of angels who would be unlike other angels, and who would be given the title "sons of God." These angelic beings were still created beings and not sons by generation.
This special class of angels were present when God's fuller creation was made. In addressing Job, God says to him, "Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth ... When the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?" (Job 38:4,7)
In the Bible the term 'stars' is often used figurative for creation itself. For example Psalm 148:3 says, "Praise Him, sun and moon; praise Him all you starts of light."
Of course 'morning stars' and 'sons of God' may be expressions of the same group. We know that Satan is called 'star of the morning' in one place.
This then presents us with another problem. In Revelation 22:16, Jesus calls Himself 'the bright morning star.' Here we have a vast difference. Jesus is the brilliance of the Father shining in our hearts. It is the revelation of Jesus that shines brighter and brighter in the hearts of believers.
This is why Peter said, "So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts." (2 Peter 1:19)
The context has to determine how a word or a phrase is being used. This is why it is important to study the Scriptures carefully and learn not to make a mixture where a mixture is uncalled for.
Back to the term 'sons of God' as used in the Old Testament. It appears that these special created entities were given assignments over parts of the creation and that they were accountable to the Lord for their assignments. Thus they appeared before the Lord at certain times.
This is where we may find a valuable key to the spiritual warfare in place against the human family. Satan appearing with these sons of God likely relates to his first position over the earth. In his rebellion he lost his right relationship to the Lord but not his place as a prince angel. This would have to be dealt with differently.
Here is the key. Adam is the only man in the Bible ever called 'the' son of God. He took this title because Adam was not created on the order of any other angel or of any other created entity. God literally breathes into Adam His own life. Hence Satan's intense hatred for the human family comes from Adam's placement with God.
Through the fall of Adam, Satan hoped to do away with any relationship the human family could have with God. The cross changed all this. God still loved the world. He loved the human family with a special love that the angels could not understand.
Out of the cross comes God's answer to Satan. Paul writes, "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:26 nasb.)
Before we come to the New Testament aspect of the sons of God, we need to deal with one more element concerning these 'sons of God'. In Genesis we read where 'sons of God' intermarried with daughters of men. Scholars have wrestled with this for ages. The sages taught that these sons of God were angels. Many of the early Christian writers taught the same.
I don't wish to stretch this study beyond its borders, but it also seems likely that Peter and Jude have regard to this class of fallen beings. Perhaps not all of them transgressed their roles, but there is a class of angels who are reserved in the pits of darkness for the day of judgment. (From my understanding their sin was sexual.)
Let's leave that be for now. Now let's come to the New Testament.
While the New Testament does speak of an act of creation when each person is born from above, this is not an act of creation as with the angels. Every child of God is inbreathed of God's own Spirit. From this we literally become God's very own children. The fall of Adam has been reversed. (In this sense.)
This is why John wrote, "See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.
"Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is." (1 John 3:1,2 nasb.)
To have a glimpse into this wonderful mystery helps us understand why Paul said that no created beings or anything else for that matter, would ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is found in Jesus Christ.
The new covenant teaches that all of creation will one day be subject to God's children. Did you know this? Satan knows it well. This is why he hates believers.
Paul gives insight into this. Listen to his writings:
"So then let no one boast in men. For all things belong to you, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or things present or things to come; all things belong to you, and you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God." (1 Corinthians 3:21-23)
"For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. ... For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. ... that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God." (Romans 8:14,19,21)
"Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the matters of this life?" (1 Corinthians 6:3)
Jesus said that our future state would be similar to that of angels, but that we would not be angels. We are called:
- "...sons of [our] Father." (Mat 5:45)
- "...sons of the Most High." (Luke 6:35)
- "...sons of the resurrection." (Luke 30:36)
- "...sons of Light." (John 12:36)
All these are expressions of what the term 'sons of God' means in the new covenant.
What is the great distinction between sons of God in Genesis and Job, and sons of God in the new covenant? It is found in the book of Galatians. Paul writes:
"Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba! Father!' Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God." (Galatians 4:6,7)
Every child of God in the new covenant carries a testimony in their heart that can be called 'Father-consciousness.' We know that God is our Father. We know that He always treats us for who we are, His very own children.
How did all this happen? It happened at the cross.
This is why God spoke through the prophet; "Thus says the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and His Maker; 'Ask Me about the things to come concerning My sons, and you shall commit to Me the work of My hands." (Isaiah 45:11)
We hear in response, "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them." (Eph 2:10)
Did Job have any idea about the children of the resurrection? It seems he did. Listen:
"As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth. Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God; whom I myself shall behold, And whom my eyes will see and not another. My heart faints within me!" (Job 19:25-27)
How about you. Does Job express the feelings of your heart?
The study is open. Feel free to offer your thoughts or ask questions.
Lawrence "Buddy" Martin
email: Bro.Buddy <at> ChristianChallenge.Org
"See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled." (Heb12:15)