A Psalm About Angels?

Every once in a while, the Old Testament mentions a group of beings called “the sons of God.” This elusive group of beings are mentioned in Genesis 6 in connection with the preflood world. In Job 1-2, the sons of God are again mention, clearly referencing angels–Satan being among them. Here, they present themselves before God the Most High and Satan asks for permission to test Job. Several other times the sons of God are mentioned. But translators use the phrase “sons of the mighty” or simply “mighty.” These too are angelic beings who serve God. One Psalm in particular captures my attention: Psalm 82. Psalmist: God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; / he judgeth among the gods. God: How long will ye judge unjustly, / and accept the persons of the wicked? / Selah. Defend the poor and fatherless: / do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy: / rid them out of the hand of the wicked. They know not, neither will they understand; /they walk on in darkness: / all the foundations of the earth are out of course. I have said, Ye are gods; / and all of you are children of the most High. /But ye shall die like men, / and fall like one of the princes. / Psalmist: Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations.Many people think this Psalm refers to human kings, but that interpretation is not likely. First, they are called gods. God Most High is not using the word gods in the same sense that He is God, rather he uses the term in a lesser intensity. They or children–creations–of the Most High, therefore not his equals. But they are still called gods, having some status above man. Second, he says that they shall die like men. They’re lives will be terminated like mortals. If they are merely kings, this analogy makes little sense. Of course, they will die like men, because they are men. But if they are angels, presumably immortal beings, this death sentence is terrifying. If my assumption about the mighty being angels is correct, than this Psalm adds a good deal to our theology about angels. Observe that angels have some judicial role in the affairs of men. They should be judging on behalf of the pour and needy, but they are not. They mishandle justice. They’re injustice fits well with Paul’s comment that we are going to judge angels. Angels are somehow perverting justice, but God will set believers over them. Because of their sin, they will die. God will cut them off even though they are powerful. What is our response? It’s a plea for the rescue of God. We are not to pray demons out of an area or interview them. We are not pronounce accusations and curses against them. We are to respond in simple prayer and trust in God. He will fight for us!

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