EDITORS COMMENT: This new series is being offered in memoriam of Dr. Michael Heiser who’s truly groundbreaking research on the Divine Council and Enochian Worldview (based on the book of Enoch and its connection to Hebrew theology before and at the time of Jesus) opened the door for a richer understanding of the Life of Christ than previous generations could have imagined. This series reflects content from the leading-edge books published by Defender Publishing for Dr. Heiser—Reversing Hermon: Enoch, the Watchers, and the Forgotten Mission of Jesus Christ as well as his two volume book set titled, A Companion to the Book of Enoch: A Reader’s Commentary, Volume 1: The Book of the Watchers and Vol II: The Parables of Enoch. PLEASE NOTE: ALL PROFITS FROM THE SALE OF DR. MICHAEL HEISER’S BOOKS FROM SKYWATCHTVSTORE.COM WILL BE DONATED TO HIS FAMILY DURING THIS SERIES.
Though a completely unlikely consideration to us, there are a number of indications that, when certain Second Temple Jews and early Christians thought about the Antichrist, the great enemy of the Messiah, they also thought about what happened in Genesis 6:1–4 and the Watcher story of 1 Enoch 6–16. Perhaps the best place to launch an exploration into this matrix of ideas is a century or so later than the Second Temple Period, the era of the early church fathers.
One of the most famous among these early Christian intellectuals, Irenaeus, famously wrote that one workable cipher for 666, number of the Beast, was Teitan—“Titan”—a term that would take ancient thinking back into greater antiquity to “the days of giants.”[i] As Horbury explains, “Here Irenaeus clearly shares the political interpretation of the myth of the war of the Titans.”[ii]
The war of the Titans was the Greek tale of the revolt of the Titans against higher divine authority known to modern scholars as the Titanomachy (“war of the Titans”). The epic shares many details with the equally well-known Gigantomachy (“war of the giants”), the story of how the giants rebelled against heavenly authority, so much so that the two stories were eventually conflated in Greek literature.[iii] As I have written elsewhere:
The Titans (Gk. pl. titanes) were the children of the gods Uranos (“Heaven”) and Gaia (“Earth”). Gaia became infuriated after Uranos cast certain of the Titans into Tartarus. Gaia successfully incited the remaining Titans (save for Oceanus) to rebel against Uranos. Gaia gave one of them, Kronos, a sickle, by which he castrated Uranos (Theog. 134–207). Blood from the wound fell into the soil of Earth, an impregnation of Gaia that produced the gigantes (“giants”) along with the Eriyanes (the Roman Furies) and the ash-tree Nymphs. The Titans were later overthrown by the Olympians, led by Zeus, who cast the Titans into Tartarus. This angered Gaia once more, and she incited her children the gigantes to rise up against the Olympians, a conflict known as the Gigantomachy. This second conflict is preserved mainly via Apollodorus (b. ca. 180 B. C.) whose works were compiled in the 2nd cent. C.E. The Olympians defeated the gigantes and confined them to Tartarus.[iv]
We see here that both the Titans, the classical Greek equivalent of the fallen sons of God, Enoch’s Watchers, and the giants—whose origin arose from a fusion of the divine and the earthly—rebelled against heavenly authority. The punishment in both cases was imprisonment in Tartarus.
Another Second Temple Jewish connection between the Antichrist, the giants, and the Watcher transgression is the way the Septuagint (=LXX), in certain instances, renders the Hebrew term rephaim with titanes (2 Samuel 5:18, 22; 1 Chronicles 11:15).[v] Recall that the term rephaim was another name for the giant Anakim—descendants of the Nephilim— at the time of the conquest (e.g., Deuteronomy 2–3; Numbers 13:32–33).[vi] Pearson explains:
The word in the Hebrew Bible most often translated as gigas [“giant”] is gibbor, but there is also one other group in the LXX translated with gigas, namely the enigmatic rephaim. Significantly, the rephaim are translated not only with gigas, but also with titan [“Titan”]—an extremely suggestive conflation of Greek mythology with the Hebrew traditions. The second of these two translations suggests the importance of another word used in the LXX, namely Tartaros—the place in Greek mythology in which the Titans were imprisoned after their battle with Zeus…. The use of Enochic traditions in 2 Peter 2, where the verb tartaroō (“cast into Tartarus”) is used of the angels who sinned (v. 4), hints at the further importance of Tartarus in subsequent Christian conceptions of the underworld, mediated through the Jewish appropriation of them during the second Temple period.[vii]
The parallels to Genesis 6:1–4 and 1 Enoch are obvious and undeniable. There is no guesswork in which to engage. As we saw in chapter 2, the Watchers were bound in the Abyss in 1 Enoch. That Peter and Jude knew the Enochian material well is indicated by having the “angels that sinned” chained in the underworld prison. That Peter knew the Titan story is clear from 2 Peter 2:4, where we are explicitly told that “the angels that sinned” were “sent to Tartarus.” The Greek verb in the verse, tartaroō, could not be more clear.
An important, under-explored trajectory should also be apparent to readers at this point. Because of the Mesopotamian elements of the original context for Genesis 6:1–4 we discussed in chapter 3 that are so well preserved in 1 Enoch, it is no surprise that Second Temple Jews would also have connected the Titan and Watcher stories, complete with the giants, to Babylon. Two passages in Pseudo-Eupolemus, quoted by Eusebius in his Praeparatio Evangelica, are revealing in this respect:
2Eupolemus, in his work “On the Jews,” states that the Assyrian city of Babylon was first founded by those who escaped the Flood. They were giants, and they built the tower well known in history. 3When the tower was destroyed by God’s power, these giants were scattered over the whole earth…. 9For the Babylonians hold that Belos, who is son of Kronos, lived first. Kronos begot sons named Belos and Canaan. This Canaan fathered the ancestor of the Phoenicians, whose son was Chus, called by the Greeks Asbolus. Chus was the ancestor of the Ethiopians and the brother of Mitsraim, the ancestor of the Egyptians…. These [giants] dwelt in the land of Babylonia. Because of their impiety, they were destroyed by the gods. One of them, Belos, escaped death and settled in Babylon. He built a tower and lived in it; the tower was called Belos after its builder.[viii]
The passage contains several contradictions between Pseudo-Eupolemus and Genesis 10, not to mention quite a bit of unbiblical speculation about Abraham. Nevertheless, it is important in several respects. The key observations are that a number of Second Temple Period Jews would have believed:
- Giants—namely a giant named Belos—built the tower of Babel.
- This Belos had survived the Flood.
- Belos was the son of Kronos.[ix]
Readers will recall from the earlier summary of the Titanomachy that Kronos was a Titan. The Jewish writer of Pseudo-Eupolemus sees the story of how the biblical giants had mixed parentage (divine and earthly) paralleled by the story of how Titan blood mixed with earth produced the giants.
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The central point of this conceptual connection was Belos, whom many Second Temple Jews identified with Nimrod. Van der Toorn and van der Horst explain:
Here is a medley of allusions to Genesis 6 (both the motif of the giants and that of the flood) and Genesis 11 (the building of the tower of Babel)…. [T]he intermediate link is Nimrod from Genesis 10…. [W]e note the connection of Nimrod with the story of the giants in Genesis 6 on the one hand and with the story of the tower of Babel on the other. There are several reasons for this connection. The offspring of the sons of God are called gibborim (LXX: gigantes) in Gen[esis] 6:4, and Nimrod is called a gibbor (LXX: gigas) in Gen[esis] 10:8–9. This suggested…that Nimrod may have been one of the giants of Genesis 6. In Gen[esis] 10:10 the beginning of Nimrod’s kingdom is said to have been Babel in the land of Shinar, and in Gen[esis] 11:1–10, the people who settled in the land of Shinar are said to have built a city there that was called Babel (11:9). If that city was the beginning of Nimrod’s kingdom, he cannot but have been one of its builders. So Nimrod who was one of the giants of Genesis 6 was also the one who had built Babel.[x]
This identification of course means that certain Jews would have believed Nimrod was descended from one of the fallen sons of God, the Titans of the Titanomachy. While Nimrod isn’t named in the Pseudo-Eupolemus passage, his identification as the giant Belos is presumed by means of the term gibbor and his biblical association with Babylon and reputation as a builder (Genesis 10:8–12). The idea is expressed more explicitly by the famous Second Temple Jewish writer Philo:
The earliest Jewish writer mentioning Nimrod explicitly is Philo of Alexandria. In his writings is a clear creation of a negative image of the hunter. Of course, in a typically Philonic way, Nimrod is allegorized. In his Quaestiones in Genesis 2.81–82 Philo first remarks that Ham, Nimrod’s grandfather, stands for evil and that Ham’s son Cush stands for “the sparse nature of earth” and is a symbol of unfruitfulness and barrenness. Nimrod is Cush’s son because spiritual unproductiveness can only produce giants, i.e., people who honor earthly things more than heavenly things. “For in truth he who is zealous for earthly and corruptible things always fights against and makes war on heavenly things and praiseworthy and wonderful natures, and builds walls and towers on earth against heaven. But those things which are [down] here are against those things which are [up] there. For this reason it is not ineptly said, “a giant before (Greek: enantion) God,” which is clearly in opposition to Deity. For the impious man is none other than the enemy and foe who stands against God.[xi]
Linking the Titans and the giants back to Nimrod of Babylon would make sense when we recall that many Second Temple Period Jews understood the Mesopotamian backdrop to Genesis 6:1–4. The Babylonian apkallu would not only be the reference points for the divine sons of God and the post-Flood hybrid giants, but also the Titans and giants of classical Greece.
While the basis for a correlation (the word gibbor) between Nimrod and the Nephilim is exegetically weak,[xii] we should remember that associating the giant clans with Babylon does not depend entirely on Genesis 6:1–4. The relationship is also signified by the term “Amorite,” used of the giant clans in Amos 2:9–10 and Deuteronomy 2–3. As I wrote in The Unseen Realm:
Broadly speaking, the Amorite culture was Mesopotamian. The term and the people are known from Sumerian and Akkadian material centuries older than the Old Testament and the time of Moses and the Israelites. The word for “Amorite” actually comes from a Sumerian word (“MAR.TU”) which vaguely referred to the area and population west of Sumer and Babylon…. Og [was a] king of the Amorites who ruled in the region of Bashan. Og was a giant…. [T]he most immediate link back to the Babylonian polemic is Og’s bed (Hebrew: ʿeres). Its dimensions (9 × 4 cubits) are precisely those of the cultic bed in the ziggurat called Etemenanki—which is the ziggurat most archaeologists identify as the Tower of Babel referred to in the Bible.[xiii] Ziggurats functioned as temples and divine abodes. The unusually large bed at Etemenanki was housed in “the house of the bed” (bit erši). It was the place where the god Marduk and his divine wife, Zarpanitu, met annually for ritual lovemaking, the purpose of which was divine blessing upon the land.[xiv]
As I noted at the beginning of this chapter, the point being made here is not that the Antichrist will be a giant. No biblical or Enochic text draws such a conclusion. Rather, the material indicates that Second Temple Jewish readers of Revelation may have parsed the Antichrist as having a direct association with the fallen Watchers, the classical Titans, and the giants. Given the evidence that Second Temple Jews thought of the great end-times enemy as a man in league with Satan (Belial), and that they had a propensity to see Satan as leader of the Watchers, perceiving the Antichrist as an embodied Watcher-spirit (demon) is understandable.
There are other theological trajectories stemming from the Watchers’ abominable progeny that factor into Second Temple Jewish “Antichrist theology.” The cosmic geography of the biblical giants—their land and its location—has meaning for several passages in Revelation that describe end-time events and destinies. We’ll consider those next.
The Sin of the Watchers and the Apocalypse[xv]
Our study has shown how the transgression of the sons of God of Genesis 6:1–4, the Watchers of the Enochian tradition, was a major theological consideration for New Testament writers. The message of the cross was not merely that Jesus was the only hope for resolving humanity’s estrangement from God caused by events in Eden, but for reversing the effects of the transgression of the Watchers as a major contributor to human corruption.
It’s no surprise then that what the New Testament says about the return of Jesus would also be in part framed by the need to finally overturn the impact of the supernatural rebellion of Genesis 6:1–4. In this final chapter, our focus will be on certain features of apocalyptic events in the book of Revelation that have some connection back to the fallen Watchers and their giant progeny.[xvi]
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The Release of the Watchers
Perhaps the passage in Revelation that most readers would readily (and correctly) identify as having something to do with the Watchers would be Revelation 9. Earlier we learned from 1 Enoch that the fate of the fallen Watchers was to be imprisoned in the Abyss for “seventy generations,” or “until the day of their judgment…until the eternal judgment is consummated” (1 Enoch 10:11–13).[xvii] This fate is consistent with what happened to the Mesopotamian apkallu, the saga to which Genesis 6:1–4 responded in a theological polemic. It is also reflected in 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 6, with their note that the “angels that sinned” were put “in chains of gloomy darkness” in Tartarus.
Many scholars believe that the “unlocking” of the Abyss by a “star” who is given the key (Revelation 9:1–10) is the eschatological release of the imprisoned Watchers.[xviii] For example, Thompson notes:
The most suitable sequel to the time of imprisonment described in 1 Enoch 10 can be found in Rev[elation] 9 where the key to the abyss is given to a fallen star (or to the fifth, trumpet-blowing, angel?) who uses it to open the shaft to the abyss and facilitate the release of imprisoned demonic forces who emerge to terrorize earth dwellers.[xix]
It is clear that there is a textual relationship between Revelation 9 and Enochian and classical material. Beale cites a number of sources in passing: “Fallen angels were said to be imprisoned in the pit to await final judgment (1 En[och] 10:4–14; 18:11–16; 19:1; 21:7; 54:1–6; 88:1–3; 90:23–26; Jubilees 5:6–14; 2 Pet[er] 2:4; cf. 4 Ezra 7:36; Prayer of Manasseh 3).[xx] The bizarre description of the beings released from the Abyss as “locusts” (Revelation 9:3) that were “like horses prepared for battle: on their heads were what looked like crowns of gold; their faces were like human faces, their hair like women’s hair, and their teeth like lions’ teeth” (Revelation 9:7–8) does not undermine their identification as the fallen Watchers. Hybridized theriomorphic (“animal-shaped”) descriptions applied to demonic spirits are common in ancient Jewish and classical literature.[xxi] If one wishes to understand Revelation 9 in its ancient literary context, the passage describes the release of the fallen Watchers before their ultimate destruction with Satan.[xxii]
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[i] The source for Irenaeus’ speculation is Against Heresies 5.28–30. On Teitan, Alan Bandy notes: “the Titans were figures from pagan mythology. There has never been a ruler with the name Titan.” See Alan Bandy, “The Hermeneutics of Symbolism: How to Interpret the Symbols of John’s Apocalypse,” Southern Baptist Journal of Theology 14:1 (2010): 53 (footnote 52). This article is accessible at: http://www.sbts.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2015/10/SBJT-V14-N.1-Bandy.pdf.
[ii] Horbury, Messianism among Jews and Christians, 343.
[iii] The literary history of the story of the Titans in ancient Greece is complex and, at times, contradictory. See Jan Bremmer, “Remember the Titans!” in The Fall of the Angels (ed. Christoff Auffarth and Loren T. Stuckenbruck; Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2004) 35–61.
[iv] Michael S. Heiser, “Giants—Greco-Roman Antiquity,” in the Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception, vol. 10 (Berlin: Verlag Walter de Gruyter, 2015). Given that both the Titans and the giants of the classical Greek myths both fought against divine authority and were imprisoned in Tartarus, it is easy to see how those two groups get conflated in later ancient material. For example, Euripedes: Hec. 472; Iph. Taur. 224; Virgil: Aen. iv.179; Horace: Odes iii.4, 42, etc. The two groups are clearly distinguished in older material, such as Hesiod (8th cent. B.C.) and Xenophanes (6th cent. B.C., Xenophanes, frg. 21.20).
[v] As I have written elsewhere: “One contextual meaning of repha’im in the Hebrew Bible [is] spirits of the dead in the underworld. Several biblical texts employ repha’im in parallel to other words for the shadowy dead (e.g., methim; ‘dead’) or in contexts dealing with the grave (qeber; she’ol) or the underworld (she’ol). Psalm 88:10 (Heb. 88:11) asks: ‘Do you work wonders for the dead (methim)? Do the departed (repha’im) rise up to praise you? Selah Is your steadfast love declared in the grave (qeber), or your faithfulness in Abaddon?’ …[T]he second contextual meaning of repha’im in the Hebrew Bible [is] the giants encountered in Canaan during the conquest and the time of David. The term repha’im is linked to other terms for Old Testament giant clans in the Torah. The Israelites’ first trek to the promised land under the leadership of Moses failed when the people lost faith after the spies sent into the land reported the presence of the unusually tall Anakim, also referred to as Nephilim (Num. 13:28–33; compare Gen. 6:4). The Anakim are mentioned in several passages in Deuteronomy as ‘great and tall’ enemies (Deut. 1:28; 2:10, 21; 9:2). In describing ancient inhabitants of Moab, the Emim, Deut. 2:10–11 specifically describes the Anakim as repha’im: ‘(The Emim formerly lived there, a people great and many, and tall as the Anakim. Like the Anakim they are also counted as Rephaim, but the Moabites call them Emim’)…. The giant Og, the king of Bashan (e.g., Deut. 1:4; 3:10; Josh. 9:10), is partnered in Scripture with another king, Sihon of Heshbon. Together they are referred to as ‘kings of the Amorites’ (Deut. 3:1–8; 4:46–47; 31:4; Josh. 2:10; 9:10). ‘Amorite’ is a term that can refer broadly to the inhabitants of Canaan (e.g., Gen. 15:16; Deut. 1:7). Its association with Sihon, Og, and the Rephaim makes Amos 2:9–10 especially interesting, as it describes the Amorites dispossessed in the conquest of Canaan as unusually tall (‘I destroyed the Amorite before them…whose height was like the height of the cedars and who was as strong as the oaks’).” See Michael S. Heiser, “Rephaim,” The Lexham Bible Dictionary (ed. John D. Barry et al.; Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016). This is a digital resource, so there are no page numbers.
[vi] See Heiser, The Unseen Realm, 183–218.
[vii] Brook W. R. Pearson, “Resurrection and the Judgment of the Titans: ἡ γῆ τῶν ἀσεβῶν in LXX Isaiah 26:19,” in Resurrection (ed. Stanley E. Porter, Michael A. Hayes, and David Tombs; London; New York: T&T Clark, 1999), 5–51 (esp. 36–37).
[viii] The translation is from R. Doran, “Pseudo-Eupolemus (Prior to the First Century B.C.),” in James H. Charlesworth, The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, vol. 2 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985) 880–882. The passages in Eusebius are Praeparatio Evangelica 9.187.2–9 (lines 2–3, 9 cited); 9.18.2 (most of the passage cited). Lines not cited have Abraham tracing his lineage to the giants and learning astrology. Why a Second Temple text would connect Abraham with the giants and astrology is beyond the scope of the present book. For a discussion of the rhetorical strategies behind what Pseudo-Eupolemus says about Abraham (contrasting him with Nimrod and aligning him with favored Enoch), see K. van der Toorn and P. W. van der Horst, “Nimrod Before and After the Bible,” Harvard Theological Review 83:1 (Jan. 1990): 1–29 (esp. 20–25). The idea of someone (even a giant) surviving the Flood apparently did not trouble a number of Jewish readers of the Flood account (nor the Jewish writer of Pseudo-Eupolemus). This may be due to the fact that phrases in the Flood narrative that to most modern readers require a global flood of exhaustive loss of life, elsewhere do not denote exhaustive totality. As I wrote in a footnote in The Unseen Realm (p. 189): “[T]he phrases in the flood narrative that suggest a global event occur a number of times in the Hebrew Bible where their context cannot be global or include all people on the planet. For example, the phrase ‘the whole earth’ (kol ʾerets) occurs in passages that clearly speak of localized geography (e.g., Gen. 13:9; 41:57; Lev. 25:9, 24; Judg. 6:37; 1 Sam 13:3; 2 Sam. 24:8). In such cases, ‘whole land’ or ‘all the people in the area’ are better understandings. Those options produce a regional flood event if used in Gen 6–8 where the phrase occurs…. Gen. 9:19 clearly informs us that ‘the whole earth’ was populated by the sons of Noah. Gen. 10 (see 10:1) gives us the list of the nations spawned by the sons of Noah—all of which are located in the regions of the ancient Near East, the Mediterranean, and the Aegean. The biblical writers knew nothing of nations in another hemisphere (the Americas) or places like India, China, or Australia. The language of Gen. 10 therefore allows Gen. 7:21 to be restricted to only (or even some) of the people groups listed in the Table of Nations. That interpretation is consistent with a localized flood…. [T]he phrase ‘all humankind’ (kol ʾadam) used in Gen. 7:21 also appears in contexts that cannot speak to all humans everywhere (e.g., Jer. 32:20; Psa. 64:9 can only refer to people who had seen what God had done, not people on the other side of the world). Lastly, Psa. 104:9 appears to forbid a global flood, since it has God promising to never cover the earth with water as had been the case at creation.”
[ix] The Greek fragments behind “son of Kronos” reads ὃν εἶναι Κρόνον (literally, “who is Kronos”). This cannot be correct, as it would require Belos and Kronos to be the same figure, whereas the next verse has Kronos begetting Belos (and Canaan). Consequently, scholars emend the final Greek letter in the phrase from an accusative form to a genitive so that it reads ὃν εἶναι Κρόνου (“who is of/from Kronos”). See Doran, 881.
[x] Van der Toorn and van der Horst, “Nimrod Before and After the Bible,” 16, 18.
[xi] Ibid., 17.
[xii] The term gibbor does not inherently mean “giant,” though it can in context. Joshua’s men who fought against the Anakim are called gibborim (Josh 8:3); David is called a gibbor (1 Sam. 16:18), as is Gideon (Judg. 6:12). Even God is so described (Isa. 9:6).
[xiii] Etemenanki = Esagil (Sumerian). See Andrew R. George, “The Tower of Babel: Archaeology, History, and Cuneiform Texts,” Archiv für Orientforschung 51 (2005/2006): 75–95; John H. Walton, “The Mesopotamian Background of the Tower of Babel Account and Its Implications,” Bulletin for Biblical Research 5 (1995) 155–75.
[xiv] Michael S. Heiser, The Unseen Realm, 198–199. See Martti Nissinen, “Akkadian Rituals and Poetry of Divine Love,” in Mythology and Mythologies: Methodological Approaches to Intercultural Influences; Proceedings of the Second Annual Symposium of the Assyrian and Babylonian Intellectual Heritage Project Held in Paris, France, October 4–7, 1999, Melammu Symposia 2 (ed. R. M. Whiting; Helsinki: Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project, 2001) 93–136; Beate Pongratz-Leisten, “Sacred Marriage and the Transfer of Divine Knowledge: Alliances between the Gods and the King in Ancient Mesopotamia,” in Sacred Marriages: The Divine-Human Sexual Metaphor from Sumer to Early Christianity (ed. Martti Nissinen and Risto Uro; Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2008) 43–72.
[xv] Parts of this chapter are drawn substantially from my book, The Unseen Realm, chapters 40 and 41.
[xvi] Our coverage of the items in this chapter will be necessarily brief. A good deal more could be said in defense of certain ideas. While the same regret could be expressed with most everything else in this book, the topics in this chapter involve considerable detail in textual and literary analysis in the original languages to lay out a full case for them. Since that isn’t possible here, readers are encouraged to study the sources cited for more detail.
[xvii] The translation is Nickelsburg’s. See also 1 Enoch 13:1; 14:5; Jubilees 5:6, 10; 10:7–11). I refer here to chapter 2 of the present study.
[xviii] There is considerable debate about whether this “star,” whom all agree is a divine being, is good or evil. Thompson argues for the former: “Most commentators, including Charles and Aune, assume that the key was given to the star, who, they then argue, was in fact a fallen angel. But this creates a problem when the star-angel of 9:l is identified with the angel of 20:1… The aggelos in Rev. 9:l and the aggelos in 20:l have the same heavenly origin and the same responsibility-the key to the abyss…. While the angel keeper of the key of Sheol is not named in Revelation, he is elsewhere. The Greek version of 1 Enoch 20:2 attributes control of Sheol to ‘Uriel, one of the holy angels, who is over the world and over Tartarus’…. Elsewhere the angel keeper of Sheol is given a title. In Sibylline Oracles book 8 there is an occurrence of the rare Greek kleidophylax, ‘key-keeper.’ Although the sentence is incomplete, the context allows it to refer to an otherwise unidentified key-bearer who is responsible for the enclosure where persons are retained before coming before the judgment seat of God in the final judgment. The concept of the angel keeper(s) of Sheol flows into early Christian thinking by use of the Greek term tartarouchoi aggeloi, ‘angels who keep Tartarus,’ in Apocalypse of Paul 18; Gospel of Bartholomew 4:12; and Hippolytus, Commentary on Daniel 2.29.11. The synonymous expression temelouchos aggelos, “angel keeping Tartarus,” is found in Clement of Alexandria, Prophetic Eclogue 41.1.” See Steven Thompson, “The End of Satan,” Andrews University Seminary Studies 37:2 (1999) 260–262. Beale argues that the keeper is evil: “The main debate is whether this is a good or evil being. It could be either the archangel Uriel, who was chief ‘over Tartarus,’ or the archangel Saraqael, who was ‘over…the spirits, who sin in the spirit’ (1 En.19:1; 20:1–6; 21:1–10; Testament of Solomon 2). But 1 Enoch never calls those figures ‘fallen stars.’ Instead, this description is reserved exclusively for fallen angels under the confinement of the archangels…. In addition to the resemblances with falling star depictions elsewhere (mentioned above), the conclusion that this is not a good angel but a fallen angel is also suggested by v 11. There the ‘angel of the abyss’ is called ‘king over’ the demonic locusts and is called ‘Abaddon’ (‘Destruction’) and ‘Apollyon’ (‘Destroyer’). The heavenly being who is sovereign over the abyss and the locusts in vv 1–3 is probably the one called their ‘king’ in v 11…. Therefore, the angel in v 1 is either Satan or one of his minions (the latter would be parallel with 2 En. 42:1, which portrays ‘those who hold the keys…of the gates of hell’ as ‘like great serpents, and their faces like extinguished lamps, and their eyes of fire, their sharp teeth’).” See G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text (New International Greek Testament Commentary; Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1999) 491, 493.
[xix] Thompson, “The End of Satan,” 260.
[xx] Beale, The Book of Revelation, 493. Aune adds to the data: “The “star” is obviously some kind of supernatural being, as this verse and the following make clear…. While the key to the abyss is mentioned again in 20:1, the notion of a shaft that could be locked and unlocked is implied rather than explicitly stated. In the other two references, in Rev. 11:7 and 17:8, the abyss is the place from which the beast is said to ascend. Papyri Graecae Magicae XIII.169–70, 481–83 indicates a belief in a supernatural being who rules over the abyss: “a god appeared, he was put in charge of the abyss”…. It is sometimes synonymous with the underworld, which is the abode of the dead (Jos. As. 15:12; Ps. 71:20; Rom. 10:7; Diogenes Laertes 4.27 mentions “the abyss of Pluto” = Hades) and the place where demons are imprisoned (Luke 8:31; 1 Enoch 18–21; Jub. 10:7 [the Greek fragment reads “to cast them into the abyss until the day of judgment”; see Denis, Fragmenta, 86]).” See David E. Aune, Revelation 6–16 (vol. 52B; Word Biblical Commentary; Dallas: Word, Incorporated, 1998) 525–526.
[xxi] See Alexander Kulik, “How the Devil Got His Hooves and Horns: The Origin of the Motif and the Implied Demonology of 3 Baruch,” Numen 60 (2013): 195-229 (esp. 215–216).
[xxii] In other words, to impose modern war machinery on the passage violates the contextualized intention of the writer. Below I argue that Gog is best identified as an evil supernatural being, perhaps even Satan. As such, he is not the human Antichrist, but the being personified by or empowering the Antichrist. Since the final battle in Revelation and Second-Temple Jewish sources (e.g., 1QM, the Qumran War Scroll) has both divine and human combatants on either side, I consider the released Watchers to be part of the enemies described as “Gog and Magog” in league with Satan.
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