The Third Temple  The Center for
Messianic Learning 

Unapologetically Pro-Torah
Unashamedly Pro-Israel
Irrevocably Zionist
“… out of Tziyon will go forth Torah, the word of ADONAI from Yerushalayim.”
(Isaiah 2:3)
Jew and Gentile (Synagogue and Church), one in Messiah. (Ephesians 2:14)
“For He is our peace, Who made both one, and broke down the middle wall of partition, …”

If your life is not in jeopardy for what you believe, you’re probably on the wrong side!
If you don’t believe Genesis 1-11, how can you possibly believe John 3:16?
“Indeed, all who want to live a godly life united with the Messiah Yeshua will be persecuted.” (2Tim 3:12)
It is what you actually believe that determines how you walk out your faith, “but avoid stupid controversies, genealogies, quarrels and fights about the Torah; because they are worthless and futile.” (Titus 3:9)

Please Note: Absolutely nothing on this website should be taken as anti-Church or anti-Rabbinic. I am not anti-anything or anti-anyone. I am only pro-Torah and pro-Truth (see “Philosophy”), but sometimes the Truth upsets our long-held beliefs. I know it certainly upset mine! For example, see “Why Isn’t My Theology Consistent Throughout the Website?”

Developing a
Systematic Messianic Theology

“The purpose of careful theological formulations is not to put barriers in the way of people who are seeking salvation, but to define clearly the truths upon which genuine [Biblical] faith rests, so that people will not be misled by false doctrines.” [Bowman]

“It must be clearly and unequivocally stated that theology cannot save you. Only faith in Messiah Yeshua can save you. Theology can only give you sound doctrine.” [RLS]

Unless otherwise specified, throughout the Theology section of my website I use the term “Torah” in the wider sense of including the entire body of inspired Scripture: both the Tanakh and the Apostolic Writings. No other so-called “sacred writings” are considered inspired by God or authoritative for the Believe’s walk of faith.

[Explanations of rabbinic citations are HERE]

What the Torah Says About
Spirit Beings

Dr. Michael S. Heiser Disclaimer: I only became aware of Dr. Heiser’s “Divine Council” theology after his leaving the earthly realm (February 14, 1963 – February 20, 2023), and as yet I am not sure how much (if any) of his teaching I fully agree with. In all fairness, those of you have spent any time on this website know there are very few (if any) people with whom I agree completely, and I do not expect anyone to fully agree with me. However, I do find his viewpoint very interesting, well articulated, and worthy of further investigation, so I have included many of his teaching videos — most of which are quite lengthy — as part of my website. If you would like a more systematic and “bite-size” way of discovering what “Divine Council” theology is all about, I refer you to his “NakedBible Podcast” and the Divine Council Worldview Facebook Group.

The very first thing that we must take into consideration is whether or not anything exists outside of our physical realm. If you have wandered this far into my website it is rather certain that you at least believe there is a God. If you did not believe that, it is highly unlikely that you would have ventured past my home page. So if you believe that God exists, you already believe that something exists beyond what you can experience through your five physical senses. R'Sha'ul (the Apostle Paul) affirms that spirit beings are indeed interfereing with God’s plans for planet Earth.

For we are not struggling against human beings, but against the rulers, authorities and cosmic powers governing this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm. (Eph. 6:12)
The Unseen Realm - with Dr. Michael S. Heiser
The content of this video (1 hour, 11 minutes) and of the three videos (a 27-hour course) on the Theology home page are of critical importance to developing the Hebrew world view that includes the unseen realm and that is essential for the correct understanding of both the Tanakh and the Apostolic Writings.

Terms for Beings in the Unseen WorldDr. Michael Heiser discusses in detail the terms that are used to discuss the terms for the beings that reside in the unseen, or spiritual, realm at this point in a 12-hour video. Note that the Hebrew word אֱלֹהִים֙ (elohim) is a generic term for all spirit beings (any entity that exists outside of our physical realm, including Yehovah and deceased humans). The word elohim denotes “residence” rather than a fixed set of attributes. At some point in the Tanakh, every “species” of spirit being is referred to as elohim. He discusses that there are some other words that refer to functionality within the spirit realm, while other terms denote disposition. He also points out that Hebrew names have specific meanings (as I nearly always indicate in my commentary). [These two images were captured from that video.]

The Unseen Realm HeirarchyOf peculiar interest (to me) is his discussion of the “heirarchy” within the unseen realm. Serving directly under Yehovah are the benéi Elohim, or “Sons of God” (sometimes benéi haElohim in the Hebrew text, and sometimes simply elohim). These serve as the “Divine Council[1] and it was they to whom He was speaking when He said, “Let us make humankind in our image…” (Gen. 1:26) and it was they who shouted for joy while the “morning stars sang together at creation (Job 38:6-8). After the dispersion of humanity at Babel, God placed the benéi Elohim as caretakers over the affairs of the nations, a position He had originally intended for Adam and his descendants. In that heirarchy the angels (מַּלְאָכִ֤ים, malakim) function primarily as messengers.

Due to the restrictions of Greek vocabulary, after the translation of the Tanakh (and a few other books that did not make it into the Hebrew canon) into the Greek Septuagint (LXX), all the “species” of spirit entities were divided into two groups. The “good guys” (the “white hats”) were all classified as ἀγγέλους (angelous), angels, and the “bad guys” (the “black hats”) were classified as δαιμονίοις (daimoniois), demons. Thus, in the version of the Tanakh (the LXX) that was in the possession of the apostolic writers the bnei Elohim who rebelled against God were lumped in with the demons and those bnei Elohim who did not rebel were lumped in with the angels.

This often makes it very difficult to ferret out which particular “species” of spirit beings is being referred to in a particular passage of Scripture. In many cases we can only tell by the context.

Angels (מַּלְאָכִ֤ים, malakim), ἀγγέλους (angelous)

The Scriptures teach that angels are created beings (Psalm 148:4-5), not deity, and are not to be worshipped (Exodus 34:14, Deut. 6:13, Luke 4:8); that they were created by HaShem to serve and worship Him (Psalm 148:4-5); that they are organized into different ranks and orders; and that there are now both holy and fallen angels.

Holy angels are “ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation“ (Heb. 1:14). They ministered extensively to Yeshua during His earthly life and ministry, and are involved in a general ministry to believers. Toward unbelievers, angels announce impending judgments, and will be actively involved in the judgments of the time of Ya'akov’s Trouble (the “Great Tribulation”).

Satan is thought to be an angel, a cherub of the highest rank of all angelic creatures (Ezek. 28:12-16), though he also might be one of the benéi Elohim. He sinned through the pride of self-will, and thereby became the author of sin and the cause of the fall of man. He is the open and declared enemy of both HaShem and man, and with his fallen angels (demons) is in a state of present and open warfare against HaShem and His saints. Some of the demons are presently being held captive “in chains” in Sheol. They will all be eternally punished in the Lake of Fire, which was created specifically for HaSatan and his demons.

Names for spirit beings

There are at least four classes of spirit beings described in Scripture: בְנֵי הָֽאֱלֹהִים֙, benéi Elohim (sometimes simply elohim); כְּרוּבִ֣ים, cherubim; שְּׂרָפִ֔ים, seraphim; and מַּלְאָכִ֤ים, malakim (messengers, angels). It is important to understand that the Hebrew word אֱלֹהִים֙  (elohim) in the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible/“Old” Testament) as well as in extra-biblical ancient Hebrew literature is used as a generic term to refer to any resident of the spiritual realm, including deceased humans.

Other primary names for spirit beings include principalities and powers. Spirit beings are referred to in Scripture by many names, among which the following are included:

  • powers / powers of heaven (Matt. 24:29; Mark 13:25; Luke 21:26; Rom. 8:38; Eph. 6:12; 1Pet. 3:22)

  • principalities (Rom. 8:38)

  • authorities (1Pet. 3:22)

  • spiritual forces of wickedness (Eph. 6:12)

  • ministering spirits (Heb. 1:14)

  • angels — The Hebrew and Greek words translated as “angels occur a total 389 times in Scripture (all word counts in this article are from the New American Standard Bible), but not always referring to spirit beings.

     The Hebrew word מֲלְאָךְ (mal'ak) means a messenger or representative, and appears 213 times. It is translated as angel (101 times), angels (9), messengers (76), messenger (24), ambassadors (2), and envoys (1).

     The Greek word ἄγγελος (angelos) means a messenger, envoy, one who is sent, an angel, or a messenger from HaShem. It appears 176 times, and is translated as angel (86 times), angels (80), angel’s (2), angelic (1), messenger (4), and messengers (3).

     However, the word ἄγγελος is also used to refer to any being who belongs in the unseen realm.

  • cherubim — The Hebrew word כְּרוּב kherub (pl. כְּרֻבִ֗ים (kə·ru·ḇîm) appears 20 times in the NASB as cherub (pl. cherubim), and is used to denote (a) the guardians of Eden; (b) beings who are flanking HaShem’s throne; (c) the forms hovering over the Ark of the Covenant; and (d) figuratively, as the chariot of HaShem (Psalm 18:10). [Please note that the Hebrew “ch” is pronounced as a very breathy “kh” (like “kh” as in Yochan Sabastian Bach), not like “cherry.” The singular form of the word is kherub and the Hebrew plural form is kherubim. No offense intended, but you sound really ignorant when you refer to “cherubims.”]

The prophet Yechezk'el (Ezekiel) provides us with a detailed description of the kherubim (Ezek.  10:4-14):

“The cherubim appeared to have the form of a man's hand under their wings. Then I looked, and behold, four wheels beside the cherubim, one wheel beside each cherub; and the appearance of the wheels was like the gleam of a Tarshish stone. As for their appearance, all four of them had the same likeness, as if one wheel were within another wheel. When they moved, they went in any of their four directions without turning as they went; but they followed in the direction which they faced, without turning as they went. Their whole body, their backs, their hands, their wings and the wheels were full of eyes all around, the wheels belonging to all four of them. The wheels were called in my hearing, the whirling wheels. And each one had four faces. The first face was the face of a cherub, the second face was the face of a man, the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle.”

  • seraphim — The Hebrew word שָׂרָף saraph (pl. שְׂרָפִ֨ים (śə·rā·p̄îm) appears only in the writings of the prophet Yesha'yahu (Isaiah 6:2, 6), and is closely related to the word used to describe the “fiery serpent” that Moshe had made in the wilderness (Num. 21:6-8). He provides us with the following description (Isa. 6:1-5)

“In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called out to another and said, ‘Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of hosts, The whole earth is full of His glory.’ And the foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke.”

  • demons — The Hebrew word שֵׁד shed (pl. שֽׁדִים, šê·ḏîm) appears only twice in the Tanakh (Deut. 32:17; Psalm 106:37), whereas the Greek word δαιμόνιον (daimonion), referring to evil spirits, or to the messengers and ministers of Satan, appears in the Apostolic Writings 63 times, plus variations of δαιμόν: daimon (demon 1); daimonizomai daimonizomai (demon-possessed 11, demoniacs 2); daimoniode? daimoniodes (demonic 1).

    While Christian theology considers all of the gods of all of the religions of the world (Islam, Buddhism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Jainism, Shintoism, Taoism, and Zoroastrianism, to name but a few) to be demons (Deut. 32:17; Psalm 106:37, 1Cor. 10:20), they are more likely bnei Elomhim.

     However, like the word ἄγγελος (angelos), δαιμόν (daimon) is also used to refer to any being who belongs in the unseen realm in both the Apostolic Writings as well as in classical Greek literature.  

     In Jewish theology, demons are the immaterial part of the dead Nephalim. The Tanakh also uses the word לַשְּׂעִירִ֕ם (laś·śə·‘î·rim) in Lev 17:7 to refer to the “goat demons” (literally “hairy”) that come to us in mythology as a satyr.

•   devil, διάβολος, ον (diabolos, on) translates as slanderer, false accuser, and is sometimes used to translate Hebrew satan

  • classes of nephilim include anakim, rephaim, and emim (refer to the article on “Nephilim”)

Demons - Dr. Michael Heiser

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   • devils — As used in the King James Version, this is an incorrect translation of the Hebrew word שֵׁד shed or the Greek word δαιμόνιον daimonion. There is only one devil (Greek διάβολος, diabolos), the individual we call Satan. A better translation for διάβολος would be “false accuser” or “slanderer,” as it is derived from the word διαβάλλω diaballó, to slander, accuse, defame, to bring charges (usually with hostile intent).

   • watchers — Hebrew עִ֣יר (‘îr) only in Daniel. “As I lay on my bed, I also saw in the visions of my mind a watcher (עִ֣יר), a holy one (וְקַדִּ֔ישׁ, wə·qad·dîš), coming down from heaven” (Dan. 4:13). Also in Dan. 4:17, 23 (video), and fairly common in non-biblical sources like 1 Enoch.

Names of Spirit Beings

In the Scriptures

Other than Yehovah,[GN] there are only three spirit beings who are specifically named in the Scriptures: Mikha'el (Michael), Gavri'el (Gabriel), and (perhaps) Heylel (Lucifer).

Mikha'el, מִיכָאֵל (“Who is Like God” — Michael) is an “Archangel,” the Sar Ri'shown (chief prince) of HaShem's heavenly army, the great prince who stands guard over the people of Israel. (See Dan. 10:13; 10:21; 12:1; Jude 1:9; Revelation 12:7)

Gavri'el, גַּבְרִיאֵל (“Warrior of God” — Gabriel), is also an archangel, the angel HaShem uses to send messages of great importance to man. He was sent to Daniel, to Zacharias, and to Mariam, the mother of Yeshua. (See Daniel 8:16; 9:21; Luke 1:19,26) It is assumed by most that it was Gavrie'l who also appeared to Yosef in Matt 1:20 and 2:13-19, but the text does not say so.

Heylel, הֵילֵל (literally, “Shining One,” also as Light Bringer or Light Bearer) is also know as Morning Star and Lucifer (in KJV, and there only once). He is also called Beelzebub (בַּעַל זְבוּב, Ba'al (Lord) of Flies, a Philistine “god” in KJV), Beelzebul (Βεελζεβούλ, Ba'al (Lord) of the House) seven times in the Apostolic Writings (Matt. 10:25; 12:24; 12:27; Mark 3:22; Luke 11:15,18-19.). It is extremely likely that it is he who is called Ba'al throughout the Tanakh. He is called Satan (adversary, one who withstands) 47 times in the NASB. Christian theology classifies “Lucifer” as a “fallen angel,” but he may properly be one of the benéi Elohim.

It is important to remember that הַשָּׂטָ֛ן (haś·śā·ṭān, the accuser) does not necessarily refer only to God’s primary adversary. It may possibly be any one of a number of members of the Divine Council who is serving in the “Heavenly Court” as a “prosecuting attorney” bringing charges against an accused. Consider Job 1:6:

 CJB: It happened one day that the sons of God came to serve Adonai, and among them came the Adversary.

RLS: One day the sons of God (bnei Elohim) came to present themselves before Yehovah, and the prosecutor (ha-satan, adversary, accuser) also came with them.

Hebrew, like English, does not use the definite article (the) with proper names. For the sake of this discussion, let’s assume that this prosecuter’s name is Fred. Neither in Hebrew nor English would we say “and the Fred also came with them.” But it does make sense in both languages to say “and Fred also came with them.” Since the definite article is used in the original language, it makes better sense linguistly to understand the sentence the way I have translated it here. So this particular “prosecutor” might be any one of the bnei Elohim.

In Extra-Biblical Sources

From the Jewish Encyclopedia, entry “Angelology.”

  • Raphael (translation: God Heals), God's healing force

  • Uriel (translation: God is my light), leads us to destiny

  • Samael (translation: the severity of God), angel of death — see also Malach HaMavet (translation: the angel of death)

  • Sandalphon (translation: bringing together), battles Samael and brings mankind together

  • Jophiel (translation: Beauty of God), expelled Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden holding a flaming sword and punishes those who transgress against God

  • Sataniel/Satan (translation: the adversary), tempts humans, serves as an adversary, and brings people’s sins before them in the heavenly court

  • Metatron (translation is disputed, may mean “keeper of the watch,” “guardian,” or “he who sits behind the throne of Heaven”), God’s heavenly scribe recording the deeds of all that is done in Earth and Heaven and all of Creation.

Angelic Hierarchy in Jewish Theology

Maimonides, in his Yad ha-Chazakah: Yesodei ha-Torah (Mishneh Torah), counts ten ranks of angels in the Jewish angelic hierarchy, beginning from the highest (note that these are his definitions):

Rank Angel Class Notes
1 Chayot Ha Kodesh See Ezekiel chs. 1 and 10
2 Ophanim See Ezekiel chs. 1 and 10
3 Erelim See Isaiah 33:7
4 Hashmallim See Ezekiel 1:4
5 Seraphim See Isaiah 6
6 Malakim Messengers, angels
7 Elohim “Godly beings”
8 Bene Elohim “Sons of Godly beings”
9 Cherubim See Talmud Hagigah 13b
10 Ishim “manlike beings”, see Genesis 18:2, Daniel 10:5

The Unseen Realm Videos

The Unseen Realm Conference (6 hrs, 5 min)


Clinton E. Arnold, Powers of Darkness
Jonathan Cahn, The Return of the Gods
A. Wesley Carr, Angels and Principalities (1981)
Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, vol II, Angelology, Anthropology (1947)
C. Fred Dickason, Angels: Elect and Evil
_____, Demon Possession and the Christian
Billy Graham, Angels: God’s Secret Agents (1975)
Michael S. Heiser, The Unseen Realm
John Warwick Montgomery, ed: Demon Possession
Heinrich Schier, Principalities and Powers in the New Testament (1961)
Merrill F. Unger, Biblical Demonology
_____, What Demons Can Do to Saints
Walter Wink, Naming the Powers
_____, Unmasking the Powers
_____, Engaging the Powers


  1. “God [Elohim] has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods [elohim] he holds judgment:” (Psalm 82:1, ESV) “The term divine council is used by Hebrew and Semitics scholars to refer to the heavenly host, the pantheon of divine beings who administer the affairs of the cosmos. All ancient Mediterranean cultures had some conception of a divine council. The divine council of Israelite religion, known primarily through the psalms, was distinct in important ways.” Michael S. Heiser, “Divine Council,” in Dictionary of the Old Testament: Wisdom, Poetry & Writings (ed. Tremper Longman III and Peter Enns; Downers Grove, IL; Nottingham, England: IVP Academic; Inter-Varsity Press, 2008), 112. See also the entire website [BACK]

Originally posted on Sunday, 28 November 2021
Some revisions and video added Tuesday, 20 June 2023
Revised on Thursday, 13 July 2023
Revised on Monday, 21 August 2023

Page last updated on Sunday, 10 September 2023 02:19 PM
(Updates are generally minor formatting or editorial changes.
Major content changes are identified as "Revisions”)

Anxiously awaiting Mashiach’s return

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