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Q230 : Going Beyond the Canon

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Q230 : Going Beyond the Canon

I came across your commentary on Revelationa while researching earlier today. Even though I’m not a pre-trib supporter I have no problem working with other brothers of the faith who hold eschatological differences.

With this being said, when I was working on my Master’s thesis on Angelology and Demonology I came to the same conclusion as you that there is a connection between Revelation 9; Gen 6:2-4; Jude 6; and 2 Peter 2:4. Since this seems to be the case, I was wondering if you have ever come across any research that identifies the demonic king of Rev 9:11 as Shemihazah, the leading angelic figure from 1 Enoch (1 En 6:3,7)?

I have been researching as much as possible to see if there could be any connection (especially using the commentary on 1 Enoch by G W E Nickelsburg). While I in no way hold the book of 1 Enoch as authoritativeb, it does represent a popular strand of Jewish tradition and even early Christian thinking (Jude 1:14-15). Thus it could be considered relevant to the topic.

Further, the name Shemihazah has to do with God (or possibly Heaven) seeing the angel’s actions and the devastation or destruction that ensues because of it. This notion would easily fit the meaning of Abaddon/Apollyon. Considering that it is highly unlikely that Rev 9:11 refers to Satan, and since Shemihazah is the highest ranking angel (closest thing to a king) involved in the Jewish tradition on Genesis 6, why have more scholars not made this connection?

I would welcome your feedback, and would also like to know what you personally think these unleashed fallen angels will do to the unsaved. I am aware that some attempt to use the “days of Noah” quotes by Christ (Mat. 24:37-38; Luke 17:26-27) and the strange saying “the seed of men” in the Aramaic of Daniel 2:43c to support a new kind of sexual sin, but at this point I’m not sure if the context of either would truly allow for such a conclusion.

I welcome any feedback on any of these topics.


A230 : by Tony Garland

I have not encountered any research or papers which suggest a connection between Shemihazah and Abaddon/Apollyon mentioned in Revelation 9a. If I had, I would not take such a suggestion seriously because I do not believe that God has given inspired, supernatural revelation outside the Bible (beyond the canon of Scripture).

It is one thing to refer to non-canonical writings for a better understanding of historical events related to the Bible (e.g., 1 Maccabees), but quite another thing to look to them for information which is unknowable except by special (supernatural) revelation from God. In the former case, an uninspired writer is recording observable, historic events familiar to people of the time and place. Such information is observable without the need of special, divine revelation. In the latter case, the information is completely unknowable aside from divine revelation. Knowledge of the existence and names of angels requires special revelation from God and therefore, will not be found in uninspired, unreliable, non-canonical writings rejected by the church during the formation (recognition) of the canon. Placing stock in extra-Biblical writings and their varied and fanciful suggestions concerning information which could only be known by direct revelation from God is, at best, a distraction. At worst, it can lead a shepherd and the sheep into deception. This is especially dangerous where it blurs the boundary of the canon leading the sheep to feed where God has not called them to feed. There is a reason such writings were never recognized as canonical so we should reject any inclination to appeal to them in a misguided attempt to go beyond what God has revealed within His Holy Word. Seeking special revelation outside the Bible is a sure sign of “itching ears” (2Ti. 4:3).

I would be wary of any teacher or scholar who routinely goes beyond the canon, making it a mainstay of his teaching presentation. This often indicates a low a view of Scripture, an unwillingness to recognize the accepted boundary of the canon, or disbelief in the sufficiency of Scripture as the sole source of special revelation. As Paul told Timothy, from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2Ti. 3:15-17) Again, I'm making a distinction here between learning from extra-Biblical writings which record observable natural or historical information (e.g., Josephus, Pliny, Herodotus) versus those which purport to contain supernatural revelation, but never made “the cut” into the canon.

Regarding the question as to what the demonic hoard of Revelation 9 will do to humans: I would not go beyond the text which indicates they will inflict pain by the use of their “tails like scorpions” to sting (Rev. 9:10). I see no textual support for inferring some strange sexual sin. Although sensational prophecy teachers make much of Jesus' teaching concerning the similarity of future events to the days of Noah, in my view, this is simply abusing the text (actually, the context) to gain an audience.

What did Jesus actually say and why?

But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.1

Immediately following this statement, Jesus talks about those who will be taken unawares, in judgment, at His coming at the end of the age.2

Using this passage to teach that everything that went down in Genesis 6 will happen again in the future ignores the overall context and makes the passage say more than Jesus meant. Jesus made a simple analogy between God's past judgment (the Flood) and His future judgment (at His coming). In both cases: people were engaged in normal daily activities (eating, drinking, marrying); they had no idea what was about to come; and God's judgment was rapid and catastrophic—resulting in the destruction (“taking”) of the unwary. His teaching does not support the idea of a repeat of something akin to what Genesis 6 recordsb.

It has been my observation that sensational interpretations, such as those that suggest the stings mentioned in Revelation 9:10c or the “seed of men” mentioned in Daniel Daniel 2:43d refer to some strange sexual sin, say more about the predilection of the interpreter than anything the inspired text intends to convey.


Endnotes:

1.NKJV, Mat. 24:37-39
2.I do not believe this to be a Rapture passagee as some assume.


Sources:

NKJVUnless indicated otherwise, all Scripture references are from the New King James Version, copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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