SPECIAL TOPIC: ANGELIC LEVELS IN PAUL'S WRITINGS

The rabbis thought that the angels were jealous of God's love and attention (i.e., the giving of His law on Mt. Sinai) to fallen mankind and, therefore, were hostile to them. The Gnostic false teachers asserted that salvation was only available by secret passwords through hostile angelic spheres (cf. Colossians and Ephesians), which led up to the high, good god.

George Eldon Ladd has a good summary of the terms used by Paul for angels in his book A Theology of the New Testament:

"Paul refers not only to good and bad angels, to Satan and to demons; he uses another group of words to designate ranks of angelic spirits. The terminology is as follows:

'Rule' [archē], I Cor. 15:24; Eph. 1:21; Col. 2:10

'Rulers' [archai; RSV, "principalities'], Eph. 3:10; 6:12; Col. 1:16; 2:15; Rom. 8:38

'Authority' [exousia], I Cor. 15:24; Eph. 1:21; Col. 2:10

'Authorities' [exousiai; RSV, "authorities"], Eph. 1:21

'Power' [dynamis], I Cor. 15:24; Eph. 1:21

'Powers' [dynameis], Rom. 8:38

'Thrones' [thronoi], Col. 1:16

'Lordship' [kyriotēs; RSV, "dominion"], Eph. 1:21

'Lordships' [kyriotētes], Col. 1:16

'World rulers of this darkness,' Eph. 6:12

'The spiritual (hosts) of evil in the heavenlies,' Eph. 6:12

'The authority of darkness,' Col. 1:13

'Every name that is named,' Eph. 1:21

'Heavenly, earthly, and subterranean beings,' Phil. 2:10 " (p. 401).

 

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