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The Lord named mankind Adam.[1] Most are familiar with the meaning of this name—red earth. Adam was taken out of the ground, and there is a play on words in the Hebrew. Mankind is Adam; the ground is adamah. But the root adam from which Adam comes also means “to show blood (in the face); i.e., flush or turn rosy.”[2] In other words, the Lord defined man by his physical make-up (the ground) and his life substance (the blood). The day our original parents were created, the day they became living souls, God named them according to the blood that brought color to their face. Blood defines the essence of man. And by placing life in the blood of man, God took a singular departure from what He had done in the creation of angels. Because of how God made man, how his life was manufactured, redemption was possible for man. This is also indicative of foreknowledge of a system failure.

Being redundant linguistically isn’t a good idea, but in engineering it is a tried and true principle. If a particular item in the system is crucial, then back-up systems are built in case the primary system fails. Elements in electronic and mechanical equipment are duplicated to ensure that a failure in part doesn’t become a failure for the whole. We have redundancies in our bodies. Most of us have two lungs and two kidneys, for instance. Think of blood as a racial redundancy. God made man in such a way that if there was a total system failure (i.e., sin), He could keep the race going. He did this by building redeemability into the system. And the key to this redeemability is blood.

Back-up systems aren’t intended to be replacements for the primary system. They are simply put in place to keep things going until the primary system can be restored. A home generator is an example of a back-up system. If the electricity fails, you can start up the generator and get power to some vital appliances until such time as the electricity comes back on. But you wouldn’t want to run your house on a generator all the time. Well, mankind in the garden with God was the original system. Sin brought a major interruption to their fellowship. But God had already engineered a back-up system to keep the fellowship going until such time as the original system could be restored. This back-up system was the blood of animals. But to see how novel a thing nephesh in the blood is, we need to take a glance at what God did with the angels.

We know that the life of the flesh is in the blood. Man is animated by this life in his blood. But where is the life of an angel? The life principle (or animus, if you will) of an angel is different than man’s. Because angels are spirits, it may seem odd to talk about their “life” being located somewhere as if they had a physical body. But the truth is that angels do have a distinctive habitation that is analogous to our physical bodies. Those bodies contain fire; and the life of the angel is in that fire.

Scripture tells us that our God is a consuming fire.[3] It was as a devouring fire that the Lord appeared to the children of Israel on top of Mount Sinai.[4] God is spirit. One of the physical symbols God has given us of the Spirit is fire. Fire may seem unsubstantial and incorporeal, but all you have to do is hold your hand in it to dispossess yourself of this illusion. And fire has a distinctive shape, even if it shifts. When you read “tongues like as of fire,” do you have any difficulty bringing an image to mind? We should not think of angels as incorporeal ghosts; rather, we should see them as flames of fire.

Psalms 104:4 “Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire…”[5]

God made His ministering angels flames of fire. When the Syrians had Elisha’s city surrounded, his servant quaked in fear. But Elisha prayed to the Lord that his eyes might be opened. And, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire.[6]  The Lord had sent His angel army to protect the prophet!

Another prophet who received a revelation of fiery angels was Ezekiel. While standing on the banks of the Chebar River, he saw the chariot of God approach him out of the whirlwind. The four living creatures whirred on their wings and roared on their wheels, and their appearance was of fearsome fire.

Ezekiel 1:13
As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of lamps: it went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning.

This fire had a base of operations: the wheels within wheels. These wheels went wherever the living creatures went for “the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels.”[7]  This phrase is analogous to “the life of the flesh is in the blood” and it educates us about the life principle of angels. The seat of their life was in the wheels and the wheels were full of fire.

Ezekiel 10:6-7
6 And it came to pass, that when he had commanded the man clothed with linen, saying, Take fire from between the wheels, from between the cherubims; then he went in, and stood beside the wheels.
7 And one cherub stretched forth his hand from between the cherubims unto the fire that was between the cherubims, and took thereof, and put it into the hands of him that was clothed with linen: who took it, and went out.

The living creatures are cherubim. In this vision, Ezekiel sees an angel interacting with the cherubim. One of the cherubim pulls fire up from between the wheels—the wheels that contain his spirit. The words translated “in between” mean “in the midst of.” What is in the midst of these wheels is fire. This cherub reached down and scooped up some of the very essence of his life and power and handed it to the other angel for him to pour it out on Jerusalem in judgment. Angels are endued with tremendous power. And their life and power is in the fire.

The Bible teaches us about one other cherub. He was higher in rank than all the rest and had a special role in guarding the throne of God, which was composed of the other cherubim.

Ezekiel 28:14
Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.

This covering cherub was none other than Lucifer before his fall. He walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. He walked in the company of cherubim who rode on wheels inside wheels filled with coals like as of fire.

Ezekiel 28:15-17
15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.
16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.
17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.

He made merchandise in the sanctuary. God will not put up with this sin from angels any more than He will from men.[8]  As men sinning in and around the temple defiled it, so angels sinning in heaven defiled the heavenly sanctuary.

Ezekiel 28:18
Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. [Emphasis mine.]

For this sin, satan[9] will ultimately be burned by his own life principle. The fire of his life that was created to shine in worship on his Creator will devour him for his rebellion. If we rebel against God, our very lives will condemn us to destruction as well. But the difference between us and angels is that our sins can be remitted.

[1] Gen 5:2
[2] Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.
[3] Heb 12:29
[4] Ex 24:17
[5] See also Heb 1:5-8
[6] 2 Kings 6:15-17
[7] Ezek 1:20
[8] John 2:13-16
[9] The writing of his name in lower case is intentional. Unless it appears in a title or at the start of a sentence, this is how the reader will see it throughout the body of this work. The devil deserves no honor, only disrespect and a perfect hatred. Accordingly, he is not given the benefit of a capital letter.