The Heavenly Host

The Host of Heaven   
This page best read after Relevant Bible Passages

“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.”
Genesis 2:1
King James Version
“Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.”
Genesis 2:1
New International Version
“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.”
Genesis 2:1
Revised Standard Version

Note: This page contains some unfavorable critical analysis of some of the translations found in the New International Version of the Bible and it’s influence on modern theology, but specific primarily to this topic. This is not intended to mean the NIV is grossly unreliable. We are not KJVers-only by any means, and would recommend (and often use) the NIV, and many other versions, for almost all other general use. Please also see end notes at bottom.

The word host as used in Genesis 2:1, is defined by Strong’s Concordance (6635) as “a mass of persons or things especially organized for war, an army.” Often it refers to human armies. Two other words are translated “host(s),” and used similarly, but 6635 is usually used to refer to the heavenly hostThis page is posted to show that in Old Testament scripture, heavenly host refers specifically to angelic beings (just as in Luke 2:13′s “heavenly host praising God” at Christ’s birth). It does not generally refer to celestial bodies, or to the cosmos in general.

We are told not to worship the heavenly host, and God is declared “The Lord of Hosts” over 200 times in the Bible. Unfortunately, modern theology almost always interprets the phrase “heavenly host” or “host of heaven” to mean the stars, planets, etc (usually “array” or “starry hosts,” in NIV), unless the context makes it absolutely unavoidable to do so.

In Genesis 1:15-17, a completely different Hebrew word (kowkab – Strong’s 3552) is used to refer to literal stars. There is simply no need to confuse these terms, since there is a perfectly good Hebrew word for stars, used over 25 times in the Old Testament, and even a Hebrew word for “constellations” used in Isaiah 13:10. (Go to the online Blue Letter Bible and enter “stars” and “constellations.”)

Occasionally, even this word for stars (which simply means “shining”) is also used to refer to angels - “when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy” Job 38:7 - but never vice-versa. Therefore, “heavenly host” should really almost never be translated as “vast array” or “starry hosts” (NIV), but especially not to the near exclusionof angelic hosts. Host specifically implies a military grouping. There are too many passages that obviously have nothing to do with stars and planets to arbitrarily “insert” such a meaning into honest Bible interpretation.

While realizing that this contradicts some modern Bible dictionaries and seminaries, we believe this is a fallacy in modern thinking, which waters down the true meaning of scripture – just as realizing the earth is round contradicted certain church dogmas that were not truly scriptural. (But see note at very bottom.)

In this age, there is not a strong understanding of the
Biblical mandate to NOT worship the heavenly hosts,
therefore many today are being deceived into receiving false spiritual doctrines from wicked heavenly hosts.

1) The Lord of Hosts
2) Captain of the Host
3) Do Not Worship the Hosts!


1) The Lord of Hosts
“Who is this King of Glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the king of glory. Selah.” Psalm 24:10
  According to the online Blue Letter Bible there are 273 instances of the phrase “Lord of Hosts” in the Old Testament. (BLB, enter “Lord of Hosts”). Of course it would not be incorrect to say that he is the “Lord of all the stars and planets…” but really, that’s not the emphasis. The following is probably the most definitive use of this word referring to “armies” – whether human or angelic.

Daniel.gif (56007 bytes)

2) Pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus
“… when Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the Lord am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and did worship… And the captain of the Lord’s host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place where thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so… And the Lord said unto Joshua…” Joshua 5:14-6:2

Here, the NIV renders the boldfaced phrases “as commander of the army of the Lord,” and “The commander of the Lord’s army replied…” This use of host obviously does not refer to stars and planets.

Clearly, armies are inferred when Strong’s 6635
is used, not merely “a large collection of stuff,”
as the NIV’s “vast array of starry hosts”
renderings (below) always push to indicate.

3) Do not worship the hosts
The KJV verses below specify heavenly hosts, contrasted with the same verse in the NIV. Many passages might be fairly interpreted considering the context of “sun, moon, hosts of heaven;” BUT taken as a whole, you will see that this modern translation (in keeping with modern theology) makes the decision for you between whether the text would best infer “heavenly bodies” or “heavenly beings” – rather than encouraging study, speculation, or Holy Spirit inspired revelation. The below passages (and more) – all Strong’s 6635 – can be found here - enter “host of heaven” (no s, and use quotes.)

King James Version

New International Version

“And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them…” Duet 4:19 “And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars - all the heavenly array - do not be enticed into bowing down to them…” Duet 4:19

Consider that hosts in the heavenly realms may be angelic, distinct from celestial bodies (as in Eph 6:12)

“And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun or the moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded” Duet 17:3 “And contrary to my command has worshipped other gods, bowing down to them or to the sun or the moon or the stars of the sky…” Duet 17:3

“I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven * standing by him on his right hand and on his left… And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said… “
1Kings 22:19-22; 2Chron 18:18

“I saw the Lord sitting on his throne with all the host of heaven * standing around him on his right and on his left… Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the Lord, and said…”
1Kings 22:19-22; 2Chron 18:18

* This is the exact same word as in all references in this list, and cannot be mistaken here as “starry arrays” or “heavenly bodies,” considering they stand around the throne and one of them answers the Lord’s question to them (see also Job 1:6). Why would the exact same phrase be rendered so differently in other verses? The context makes it possible in some verses to imply stars, etc, but there are better, more clear words, in Hebrew for “stars” and “constellations” if that is what the writer truly meant.

“And they left all the commandments of the Lord their God, and made them molten images, even two calves, and made a grove, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal.” 
2Kings 17:16
“They forsook all the commands of the Lord their God and made for themselves two idols cast in the shape of calves, and an Asherah pole. They bowed down toall the starry hosts, and they worshipped Baal.” 2Kings 17:16
“For he built up again the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed… and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them.” 
2Kings 21:3
“He rebuilt the high places his father Hezekiah has destroyed… He bowed down to all the starry hostsand worshipped them.” 
2Kings 21:3
“And he put down the idolatrous priests… them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host ofheaven.” 2Kings 23:5 “He did away with the pagan priests… those who burned incense to Baal, to the sun and the moon, to the constellations and all the starry hosts.”
2Kings 23:5

The underlined word can be translated planets or constellations (but, Isaiah 13:10 uses another word for constellations). Either way, since “heavenly bodies” are categorized by this word, “all the host of heaven” could infer yet another category - angelic hosts occupying the heavenly realms.

“As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David, and the Levites that minister unto me.” Jeremiah 33:22 “I will make the descendants of David my servant and the Levites who minister before me as countless as the stars of the sky and as measureless as the sand on the seashore.” Jeremiah 33:22

(A great “op-ed” passage. This is an instance where “stars” may be the best rendering given it’s similarity to God’s promise to Abraham – Genesis 15:5. However, might the angels be considered numberless also?)

“And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down…” Isaiah 34:4 “And all the stars of heaven will be dissolved and the sky rolled up like a scroll; all the starry host will fall” Isaiah 34:4

Isaiah 34 refers to Judgment Against the Nations (uh, according to the NIV heading…) – all of which had individual “gods” and idols. In context of the surrounding verses, this application of “stars” is dubious.

“Thou, even thou, art LORD alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all theirhost, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee.” Nehemiah 9:6 “You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens, eventhe highest heavens, and all their starry hosts, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.”
Nehemiah 9:6
“And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the starsto the ground, and stamped upon them. Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host…” Daniel 8:10-11 “It grew until it reached the host of the heavens, and it threw some of the starry host down to earth and trampled on them. It set itself up to be as great as the Prince of the host …” Daniel 8:10-11
Two more passages with multiple counts of the phrase “host.” The second half of the Nehemiah verse cannot be rendered “stars,” as worship is an act of will. But the part that can’t be “locked in” is assigned the “star treatment,” although it may or may not be applicable. In Daniel 8:10, the NIV ambiguously runs the terms “host” and “stars” together (a good example of when stars probably means angels – certainly the “starry host” thrown to earth are angelic; cf Revelation 12:1). Just reading it tells you it can’t mean literal stars – it’s much more comparable to Isaiah 14:12 & Luke 10:18 (Lucifer’s expulsion) but with good guy/bad guy roles reversed.
4) New Testament hosts
Since they originate in Greek, these last verses cannot be used for critical comparison, but they are the only two NT verses that use the English word “host” to refer to heavenly “somethings.” However, in contrasting them, they do exemplify a seeming cardinal rule of modern theology…
“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.” Luke 2:13 “Suddenly, a great company of the heavenly hostappeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:13
“Then God turned, and gave them up to worship thehost of heaven…” Acts 7:42 (see also Romans 1) “But God turned away and gave them over to the worship of heavenly bodies…” Acts 7:42

So what is the “seeming cardinal rule” of modern interpretation? “If hosts probably means “good angels,” then it definitely means angels. If hosts might mean “bad angels” – then it means heavenly bodies!” A modern understanding of the many references to angelic activity expressed in the Bible has been stolen from us. And because the church remains silent on these topics, a great number of New Age teachers and UFO cults have risen to fill the void.

The point of this site is that the wicked, rebellious hosts of scripture are engaging in increased activity in this age (see What’s This All About?). The point of this page is that modern theology is locked into a 1500 year-old tradition of whitewashing the scriptural reality of wicked angelic hosts. This pattern is typified today by poor renditions of passages thatwould illuminate our understanding of their presence, but instead rob the church of her (respons-) ability to warn the world of their past, present and future activity. Whether you view this as merely a poor translation, a spiritual stronghold, or a full-scale conspiracy theory, is up to you.

The proper interpretation of “starry” or “angelic” hosts may be debatable among some of the individual passages above, but as a whole, we humbly submit that host is thought of as “stars” more often today than is probably accurate. Again, by definition host specifically implies a military grouping : the very title, “The Lord of Hosts” (Strong’s 6635) is robbed of its majesty if angelic hosts (serving Him or not) are not ascribed to the meaning of the word. If ALL of the above passages are assumed to also have angelic connotation, their meaning is only expanded (but not inappropriately), and more glory given to God. But their meaning (and God’s dominion) are actually diminished by “limiting” their meaning to celestial bodies. It would not hurt to leave them rendered simply “host of heaven” rather than dogmatically making the decision for us by over-interpreting them. This serves only to prevent personal study and revelation, and ultimately prevents effective Biblical teaching and ministry to the millions world-wide currently being contacted by these wicked hosts.

“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall punish
the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth
upon the earth.” Isaiah 24:21

 

Please Note: None of this is posted to imply that the Bible is not reliable.
We affirm that the Bible is the inspired word of God, and completely infallible, BUT do not believe that modern translations are inherently infallible. Sometimes, study of the original languages is appropriate for difficult topics. Certain translations do seem to have built-in doctrinal prejudices on a very few points, and all are subject to the error or opinion of various translators. Jesus taught that the traditions of men cause the word of God to be of no effect! (Mark 7:9-13)  But (except for the Jehovah’s Witness’ New World Translation) we can pretty much safely recommend almost any version to give an accurate representation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and to be 99% reliable on most other things. 
Always feel free to question man’s interpretations of God’s word however. Be certain to pray for understanding (Luke 24:47) and to dig deeper where something is not 100% clear. 
PS – As to the earth being flat, Isaiah 40:22 says that God sits upon the circle of the earth!

 









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