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Study 1 Picture Study 10: Angels and Israel
10-1 Angels and Israel || 10-2 The Angel Michael || 10-3 Angels At The Exodus || 10-4 "The Angel of His presence" || 10-5 The Angel In The Temple || 10-6 The Sar ha-olam || 10-7 Angels And Assyrians  

10-6 The Sar ha-olam: "The prince of this world"

There was a Rabbinic tradition that the whole world was under the power of the Angel of death which controlled Egypt at the first Passover, but had no dominion over Israel. They referred to this Angel as  the Sar ha-olam, and at the time of Jesus the phrase "Prince of this world" would have been understood as referring to this Angel (1). This is how Christ's use of the phrase would have been understood. He described the "prince of this world"- the Angel of death and darkness- as coming to him and finding nothing in Him (Jn. 14:30). This would be alluding to the Angel of death at the first Passover (and Jesus was speaking at Passover time) coming to each house and finding nothing worthy of death there because of the blood of the lamb on the lintel. Jesus may have been using the 'language of the day' as He did regarding Beelzebub and demons, but the consistent fitting of the type implies Jesus believed the Rabbinic idea was at least partially correct, in that the whole world apart from Israel was under the control of a specific Angel. However, spiritually Israel were not under the protection of the blood of the lamb because they rejected Christ. The "prince of this world" Angel would therefore destroy them too. It can be shown (2) that "the prince of this world" refers to the Jewish system, perhaps to the Angel(s) that headed it. Christ's allusion to the Sar ha-olam would then have a telling double twist. The Angel whom the Jews thought would not touch them because of the other Angels hovering over them (the real idea of the word 'passover') to protect them from the destroying Angel, was going to destroy them; the protecting Angel which hovered over them and led them through the wilderness was "turned to be their enemy"- i. e. to be the destroying Angel (Is. 63:10), the Sar ha-olam.


(1) For more documentation on this see James White, 'The Devil and his Angels', The Christadelphian, July and August 1950.

(2) See my In Search of Satan, Appendix 1 .