Category Archives: Angelology: The Doctrine of Angels

Satan have to get God’s permission before he can attack us

There is no biblical proof that Satan always needs God’s specific permission in order to act against Christians every time he wishes to attack them. We know that Satan needs permission at least sometimes. Job 1 shows that Satan was not able to afflict Job without God’s permission. However, consider Satan’s argument before God: “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land” (Job 1:10). Satan is obviously familiar with who Job is and is aware of Job’s special protection and blessing by God. How could Satan have known of Job’s protection, unless he and/or his demonic minions had not already tried to work their will against Job? What Satan is really asking is for God to remove Job’s protection; of course, in asking that the protection be removed, Satan is essentially seeking permission to attack  Job. Does Satan have to seek such permission every time he attacks us? The Bible does not say.

Another relevant passage is Luke 22:31-32. Jesus says, “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Clearly in this case Satan had asked God’s permission to test Peter and the other disciples. Jesus tells Peter that He has prayed specifically for him so that Peter’s faith would not fail and so that Peter can strengthen the other disciples when the test was over. The implication is that Peter and the rest would be sifted in whatever way Satan intended. So God allowed the harassing of His disciples, within limits, but He had a higher purpose in mind-the strengthening of them all.

God's PermissionIn Job 38:11 God says that He limits the waves of the sea: “This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt.” In the same way, it seems that there are boundaries and rules that Satan must abide by. He can go so far but no farther. As the devil “prowls around like a roaring lion” (1 Peter 5:8), must he stop and ask God’s permission for every step? Or does he only need to ask special permission when he runs into an obstacle to his hatred? There is no real biblical proof either way. Job and Peter were hedged about by the Lord, Satan couldn’t get to them without the Lord’s first removing a measure of His protection. We know that God cares for all of His children, so it is reasonable to assume that God has a measure of protection surrounding each of us. And we know that, ultimately, God controls everything in the universe, including Satan. “In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

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Satan have the power to control the weather

The increasing number of natural disasters and terrible storms have many people wondering, who controls the weather, God or Satan? An examination of Scripture reveals that Satan and his demon angels have no control over natural disasters. The Devil, our “adversary,” must be taken seriously, however, by acknowledging his reality and his limited power over the secular world. Satan, a defeated fallen angel, is super-human but not divine, having only that power that God ultimately allows (2 Thessalonians 2:6-11).

If Satan could impact the weather, it would only be by God’s permission, though restrained, as in the case of Job. Satan was allowed by God to torment Job in order to test him, and this included “the fire of God” (probably lightning) which “fell from the sky and burned up the sheep and the servants” (Job 1:16). This was followed by a “mighty wind” (possibly a tornado) that destroyed his home and killed his children (vv. 18-19). So if the fire from heaven and the tornado were somehow caused by Satan, they were still under the ultimate control of God for His purposes.

It is God, not Satan, who controls the weather (Exodus 9:29; Psalm 135:6-7; Jeremiah 10:13).
God controls the skies and the rain (Psalm 77:16-19).
God controls the wind (Mark 4:35-41; Jeremiah 51:16).
God upholds and sustains the universe (Hebrews 1:3).
God has power over the clouds (Job 37:11-12, 16).
God has power over lightning and Satan (Psalm 18:14).
God has power over all nature (Job 26).

God is in control of all things, including the weather, and through His providence, provides for and protects His children, but He also ordains or permits Satan, demons, and mankind to exercise their limited will to commit acts of sin, evil, and wickedness. These same beings are fully responsible for any and all man-made disasters and tragedies they cause. We know that God has ordained whatsoever comes to pass (Ephesians 1:11; Romans 11:36), and therefore His invisible hand is in our pain, even though He cannot sin or be the perpetrator of evil (James 1:13-17).

Who Controls the WeatherThere can be no meaningless suffering for the believer, whether the suffering is caused by mankind or by a natural event. We may not always know why evil acts or natural disasters happen, but we can be assured that in all our trials and tribulations God is working all things together for His glory and for our everlasting good (Romans 8:18-28).

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God is all powerful, but why does He not just kill Satan

One of the mysteries of the Christian life is why God didn’t destroy Satan immediately after Satan sinned. We know that God will one day defeat Satan by throwing him into the Lake of Fire where he will be tortured day and night forever (Revelation 20:10), but sometimes we wonder why God has not destroyed Satan already. Perhaps we will never know God’s exact reasoning, but we do know certain things about His nature.

First, we know God is absolutely sovereign over all creation, and this includes Satan. Certainly, Satan and his demons wreak havoc in the world, but they are only allowed a certain amount of freedom. We also know that God has planned everything from the beginning of time to the end. Nothing can thwart His plans, and things are proceeding exactly on schedule. “The LORD of hosts has sworn: ‘As I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand'” (Isaiah 14:24).

Second, “we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). Whatever God has planned for Satan, that plan will be the best one possible. God’s perfect wrath and justice will be satisfied, and His perfect righteousness will be glorified. Those who love Him and who wait for His plan to be fulfilled will be thrilled to be part of that plan and will praise and glorify Him as they see it unfold.

angel of lightThird, we know that to question God’s plan and its timing is to question God Himself, His judgment, His character and His very nature. It is not wise to question His right to do exactly as He pleases. The psalmist tells us, “As for God, His way is perfect” (Psalm 18:30). Whatever plan comes from the mind of the Almighty is the best plan possible. It is true that we can’t expect to understand that mind perfectly, as He reminds us, “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ says the LORD. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts'” (Isaiah 55:8-9). Nevertheless, our responsibility to God is to obey Him, to trust Him, and to submit to His will, whether we understand it or not. In the case of His timing for Satan’s demise, it has to be the best possible plan because it is God’s plan.

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THE MISSION AND ACTIVITIES, AND THE DESTINY OF ANGELS

It is our fervent desire that we have presented the truth as it is found in the Scriptures and that all who have read these things have benefited. We again use the Bible as our standard of truth as we delve into this subject once more.

In studying the mission and activities of angels we must keep in mind the dispensation or age in which a particular work was or is performed. Some activities that angels performed they no longer perform because the circumstances have changed, or the law for God’s people has changed, or God’s agents are no longer performing miraculous works. However, in a general study of their work it appears evident from God’s word that they worked or do work in about five areas:

1. Miraculous protection of Israel and/or specific individuals in Israel.

2. Spiritual protection of God’s people now performed in the spirit world.

3. Praise and worship of God.

4. The miraculous revelation of God’s will.

5. The execution of God’s judgments.

We presume the angels continue in their praise and worship of God. But no longer do angels miraculously protect Israel or the church. And no longer are angels revealing God’s word because the revelation of God is complete. In the future, angels will have a great mission in executing the final judgment of God. Regarding the activities of angels, we can say the foregoing things with certainty. We are less certain about present day activities the angels may be performing. They may function now in the spirit world protecting God’s people from the demons, keeping the demons from gaining an unfair advantage over God’s children. They may also function in providential answer to prayer though this cannot be ascertained with certainty from the word of God. Having summarized these things, let us now look to them more in depth, noting specific works angels performed that are recorded in the word of God.

Protecting God’s People

Angels drove spirit horses in 2 Kings 2:9-12 while taking Elijah home to heaven. Angels are connected also to spirit horses and chariots in 2 Kings 6:11-18 where they protected Elisha from the Syrian army at Dothan, and we find the horses and chariots in the visions of Zechariah as well (1:7-Il; 6: 1-6). According to Genesis 3:24, cherubim were set to guard the gates of Eden when Adam and Eve were banished. But these are not the only gates guarded by angels, for the word tells us that angels guard the gates of the Holy City in Revelation 21:12. At one time, angels served as princes over the nations (Daniel 10:13-21; 12:1). Just what these angels did in this capacity is not made clear, but it was an activity they were involved in. The New Testament teaches that angels came and strengthened Jesus when He was tried (Matthew 4:11) and that Paul also received encouragement from an angel while at sea in a storm (Acts 27:23-25). In Revelation 9:1 and 20:1-3, the scriptures teach us that angels bind and guard Satan, and the book of Psalms depicts angels as the protectors of the saints (Psalm 34:4-7; Psalm 91:11,12).

Revealing God’s Will

The scriptures teach that angels gave the law of Moses, as Stephen speaks of the Jews having “received the law by the disposition of angels” in Acts 7:53. Hebrews 2:2 also points to “the word spoken by angels” in reference to the Old Law. During Old Testament days, other revelations were given by angels as well as is evidenced by a reading of Daniel 8:19. In this verse, Gabriel tells Daniel, “Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the appointed time the end shall be.” Revelations from God were also given by an angel to Daniel in chapters nine and ten. But such revelations of God’s will are not found only in the Old Testament. It happened in New Testament times too. The angel of the Lord told the apostles to “Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.” (Acts 5:19,20). “An angel of God” brought instructions to Cornelius in Acts 10:1-6. This incident is also an example of an angel bringing an answer to prayer, something that also is recorded in Daniel 9:20-23. Angels have also appeared to men in dreams to reveal the will of God to them as was the case with Joseph after Mary “was found with child of the Holy Ghost.” Joseph learned what he was to do in this situation when “the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream.” (Matthew 1:18-21). Joseph was instructed two more times in this same fashion, as is documented in Matthew 2:13-19. Sometimes angels led gospel preachers to sinners. This was the case with the evangelist Philip who thus received the opportunity to preach to the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26-38). Clearly angels have been instrumental in the revelation of God’s will.

Executing Judgment

Often in the Scriptures, angels are described as the executors of God’s judgments. In the spiritual realm, angels fought with Satan and his demons and cast them out of heaven (Revelation 12:7-9). On Earth also have angels been employed in the execution of God’s judgments. God’s destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, recorded in Genesis 19, was carried out by the hand of angels. God used an angel to punish Israel with pestilence in 2 Samuel 24:15-17. The work of angels in this area is not yet done, for the scriptures teach that the angels will accompany Jesus when He returns (Matthew 16:27; Matt. 25:31; 2 Thessalonians 1:7). This will be a time of Christ’s judgment of the saints, and it will be the angels who have the responsibility of gathering together God’s elect at that judgment (Matthew 24:31; Revelation 7:13). In explaining the parable of the tares of the field, Jesus said the future harvest was the end of the world and that the angels would gather out all the wicked “and shall cast them into a furnace of fire.” (Matthew 13:36-43). Obviously, the angels have not yet concluded all the work they will do in the execution of God’s judgments.

Praise and Worship of God and other Present Time Activities

While the angels await the time for their last actions of judgment, they carry on in their praise and worship of God as described in Revelation 5:11-14. They also minister before Him, as Revelation 8:2 speaks of “the seven angels which stood before God.” Also being done by the angels while they await the final earth day is the receiving of “the spirits of just men made perfect” into paradise (Luke 16:22; Hebrews 12:23). Our views on “Guardian Angels” have been made quite clear, but it may be that angels are assisting God’s people today in some fashion. Ephesians 6:12; Psalm 34:4-7; and Matthew 18:10 are all passages which may well indicate such activity. But as all must admit that the veil of Divine Providence is in fact impenetrable, and we cannot define His workings there, so we must admit that clearly defining the role that angels play in that Providence is impossible. While this is not an exhaustive list of the work of angels, it is at least a representative one.

The Destiny of Angels

What is in store for angels in the future? The scriptures tell us. We have already noted that angels will be employed in the Judgment (1 Thessalonians 4:16; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; Matthew 25:31). But what of the destiny the angels themselves face? Just as is the case with mankind, the destiny of angels is determined by their obedience to God. Psalm 103:20 shows that angels obeyed God’s commandments and hearkened unto the voice of His word. From Revelation 22:8,9, where the angel refuses to allow John to worship him, we learn that this angel is a fellow servant of God with John. As was John, this angel was clearly under law and was obedient to it. Hebrews 12:22 says the saints had “come…to” or joined company with “an innumerable company of angels.” Finally, in Matthew 25:31, when Jesus comes to judge the world He brings with Him all the “holy angels.” All of these passages clearly indicate that the obedient angels will be the eternal companions of the redeemed in the “new heavens and the new earth. “Such then is the destiny of good angels. The destiny of evil angels is far different. Ju 6 says, “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. “Peter speaks of the same thing in 2 Peter 2:4. And finally, note Matthew 25:41, 46: “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels…And these shall go away into everlasting punishment…”

And so we see the destiny of wicked angels. They will suffer together with wicked men for eternity, the punishment for each being of the same kind. Whether the intensity of the punishment will be the same, we cannot say. Perhaps it will not be. But no matter, the everlasting fire, the eternal destiny of evil men and evil angels, is much to be feared and abhorred.

Conclusion

The pure and holy, whether angels, or men, will be eternally happy while the rebellious and disobedient will be eternally miserable. Let us remember that the fate of wicked men and wicked angels is most certainly to be avoided. And let us remember what wonderful incentives we are given to prompt us to live lives of purity and holiness: that we may have eternal association with angels and purified spirits forever in the presence of Almighty God. It is a great joy to anticipate. If you have not found Salvation here is your chance.

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ANGELS DEFINED AND MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT THEM

In a previous article we introduced the subject of angels, and were especially interested in the concept of “Guardian Angels.” There is, of course, much more to be said about these beings than is encompassed in so narrow a discussion as that. As we continue our study of angels, in this article we will limit ourselves to defining angels, explaining some of the common misconceptions about angels, and showing that angels make up the family of God in heaven. As always, we appeal only to the Scriptures in our search for the truth, for the Bible alone is the revelation of God.

WHAT ARE ANGELS?

The world “angel” is derived from two words: the Greek word “angelos” and the Hebrew word “malak.’ Both words refer simply to a messenger, and in some instances are applied to a human messenger such as a prophet or some other special servant of God. An example is found in Haggai 1:13 where Haggai the prophet is denoted by the word “malak.” In the book of Malachi, the same word is used to refer to the priests (Malachi 2:7) and to John the Baptist as well (3:1). However, when these words are used in scripture, most of the time they refer to special messengers from God called “angels.” These are heavenly or celestial beings, and they are the focus of our study.

What do Angels look like?

What do Angels look like?

MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT ANGELS

As we seek to understand what angels are, we might do well to consider some common ideas about angels which do not have any foundation in scripture, and in some cases are in direct conflict with what the Bible does say. These are misconceptions about angels. The first is the notion that we cannot know much about them from the Bible.

Actually, while our knowledge is limited to the revelation in God’s word, there is a considerable amount of material found in the Bible on the subject. In fact, angels are mentioned in 34 of the 66 books in the Bible. A second misconception is that angels are really an Old Testament subject. The truth is that while the world “angel” appears 108 times in the Old Testament, in the New Testament its occurrence is even more frequent – 187 times is the world “angel” used. Many people think that angels are women, another misconception. This notion no doubt arises from popular artists’ conceptions of these beings. However, the only two angels in the Bible who are named have the masculine names Michael and Gabriel. And scripture indicates that when angels appear in human form they always do so as men, such as the time Abraham entertained the three men (Genesis 18). Actually, Jesus taught that angels are neither male or female.

“Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.” (Matthew 22:29-30).

A fourth misconception is the association that is often made between angels and halos, harps, angelic choirs, and wings. As far as halos go, they have become symbolic of holiness, but wherever this idea has come from, it certainly does not find support in the Bible. Halos are simply not Biblical. The idea of angels playing harps is taken from Revelation 14:2. But this verse actually employs a figure to describe melodious voices, for it was “the voice of harpers harping with their harps; and they sang as it were a new song” (14:2,3). In the Bible, we find no direct mention of an angelic choir, however, the idea is taken from the above passage (Revelation 14:2, 3), and also the statement made in scripture that “a multitude of the heavenly host [were] praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace good will toward men” (Luke 2:13, 14). Wings are thought to be suggested when John “saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven” (Revelation 14:6). But this is most likely a symbol of great speed. However, the seraphim clearly had wings – six in fact: “with twain he covered his face and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly” (Isaiah 6:2). And so wings upon angels are not without any scriptural support, but it seems clear that the two-winged versions of the artists are clearly fanciful. A fifth misconception is that angels have no body. This is simply not true, for the Apostle Paul teaches they have a celestial body (I Corinthians 15:40). This body is neither human nor physical, for it is a spiritual body. A common belief in today’s world has it that angels are spirits who have departed their human body, the spirits of the dead. This too is a misconception. There is no Bible evidence for this notion, and the teaching of Jesus about the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:22) seems to speak to the contrary. In this verse, both Lazarus and the rich man retained their identity and neither became an angel. Also, the Bible makes a distinction between “an innumerable company of angels” and “the spirits of just men made perfect” (Hebrews 12:22, 23). A seventh and final misconception we will note is that angels have no feeling. The Bible clearly defines one of the desires angels possess:

“Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.” (I Peter 1:12).

The Bible also speaks of the joy that angels have when sinners repent:

“Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” (Luke 15:10).

Obviously, angels do have compassion and they are indeed concerned about the salvation of our souls.

ANGELS ARE IN THE FAMILY OF GOD

God has family both in Heaven and on Earth, as is evidenced by what Paul the Apostle has said:

“For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,” (Ephesians 3:14,15).

God’s family on Earth is the church as well as all who have not attained a responsible mental age (I John 3:1; Romans 8:14; Galatians 3:26,27; Matthew 19:14). God’s family in Heaven is made up of the angels. We know the Heavenly family is not made up of departed saints because Peter said, “David is not ascended into the heavens” (Acts 2:34). Also, when Jesus died, He went to Hades (Acts 2:31), and yet to the repentant thief He called it “paradise” (Luke 23:43). Therefore, departed spirits of the righteous go to paradise and not to heaven. This leaves us with only the angels to form the family of God in heaven. The proof that God’s family in heaven is indeed made up of the angels is found in two passages of scripture which say, … That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 18:10), and “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:36).

There are many misconceptions about angels, but a careful investigation of the scriptures will lay these to rest. What the Bible does teach is that angels are celestial beings who are God’s special messengers, and they make up the family of God in heaven. Lord willing, in the next article on this subject we will take up the theme of “The Origin Of Angels.”

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GUARDIAN ANGELS

In Acts 23:8 we discover that the Sadducees taught that there was “no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit.” The Sadducees were the liberals of New Testament times. They denied the supernatural element of God’s word just as modernists do today. Consequently they, like many today, did not believe in the existence of angels.

Just as there was much confusion and misunderstanding about angels in the days of Jesus and the apostles, so there remains much confusion and misunderstanding about them today. In attempting to come to a clearer understanding we must remember that we are entirely bound in, bound around, and bound down by the complete and perfect revelation of God’s word. The Bible contains the revelation and the only revelation of God extant in the world today. No man can justify himself as being in the presence of God, or validate the Scriptures by his personal experience. Instead men are obligated to validate their experiences by the word of God. One of the greatest dangers of our day is that men are turning away from the word of God and are being guided and governed by their own feelings and experiences. They are appealing to subjective proof instead of objective truth. As a result we must guard against the danger of Joshua’s day when “every man did that which seemeth to be right in his own eyes.” Many convey the notion of these words: “I don’t care what the Bible says and it doesn’t make any difference what you read to me. I know what I feel in my heart and that settles it.” When men adopt such a view they have cut themselves loose from all spiritual moorings and are adrift on the sea of emotion and instability.

Therefore, our appeal is to turn from all prejudice and superstition which envelopes our subject unto the clear light of God’s holy word. What does the Bible say? Is the operative question. What about Christians having individual guardian angels today?

If you had a Guardian Angel, What would he look like?

If you had a Guardian Angel, What would he look like?

THE POPULARITY OF THIS IDEA TODAY

Many scholars believe that the doctrine of guardian angels is plainly and indisputably taught in the Scriptures. Jesus said,

“See that ye despise not one of these little ones: for I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 18:10

In Hebrews the writer says that God’s angels are:”…ministering spirits, sent forth to do service for the sake of them that shall inherit salvation.” 1:13.

David declared that: “The angel of Jehovah encampeth round about them that fear him and delivereth them.” Psalms 34:7.

Acts 12:15 and 27:23 are also often cited in support of the view that each disciple has a specific angel assigned to him for guidance, protection, and encouragement. Practically all denominational writers defend the doctrine of “Guardian Angels” and various brethren among us have also endorsed the view though by no means all of them. B. W. Johnson says that the doctrine of guardian angels is emphatically taught in the scriptures.

J. W. McGarvey wrote that the phrase “their angels” in Matt 18:10, refers to the angels especially charged with ministering to them individually.

One more recent writer, quoted anonymously by Guy N. Woods said, “The New Testament teaching of angels, and particularly the providential care which they exercise over individual is too plain to be disputed by informed Bible students.” Even in our own fellowship there are those who teach this doctrine for Bible truth.

ARE THESE UNWARRANTED CONCLUSIONS

In spite of these strong affirmations by great and good men can only state the passages proffered do not correlate with the conclusions they have drawn and that it seems to me that the doctrine is fraught with insurmountable difficulties.

First of all, the Bible neither in these passages nor in any other says that each person or even each saved person has a guardian angel assigned to his care. In Mt 18:10 “their angels” refers to Christians all right but they are said to be “in heaven” where “they always behold the face of the Father who is in heaven.” The record does not say these angels care for, provide for, or protect the Christians. It does not say they do anything for or to Christians. It simply positions “their angels” before the face of the Father in heaven not here on earth. Some scholars, (Guy N. Woods; James McKnight), believe that this passage is a figurative statement alluding to the Oriental view that those deserving of high honors and great favors are most often permitted in the kings presence. The plural form is suggestive of all angels who serve for all the saints in God’s great plan not that each believer has a separate angel. Metaphorically then it is being taught that faithful saints, even the most obscure of them on earth, are honored and highly regarded before the throne of God. The usage of the word “angels” here appears to me to be similar to that of Acts 12:10 where it must refer to Peter’s spirit. However, at most, in favor of this doctrine, it is only being said that angels minister in general to all Christians. In this understanding Jesus is sternly warning his disciples not to despise those who are less mature or less capable in the kingdom because God’s angels are caring for them. We must not be guilty of despising those over whom the holy angels as a collective group are watching providentially. It is simply not taught here that each Christian has an angel in particular assigned to his protection.

INFLUENCE OF ANGELS IN MIRACULOUS TIMES

Angels were indeed actually engaged in influencing people in ancient times, but it must be remembered that these were miraculous actions performed in lieu of the inspired written record which we have today.

An angel appeared to Philip in Samaria and to Cornelius in Caesarea but these were instances of a type not possible today (Acts 8:4,26, 10:3).

It is unquestionable in the operation of God’s plan to save that angels actively participate but this is far, very far, from saying that angels direct, control and overshadow their earthly words as the doctrine of guardian angels demands.

When Peter was miraculously released from prison and appeared at the gate of the house where the saints were assembled the report of Rhoda of the apostle’s appearance at the gate was assumed by them to be his angel (Acts 12:15). But all that this can possibly mean is that they concluded Peter had been killed by Herod and that it was his spirit which had come. Nothing here supports the doctrine of guardian angels; indeed, the implication seems quite the reverse, inasmuch as the conclusion which the disciples drew was that Peter must have been killed.

David Lipscomb said, (and I agree) “I do not find any clear indication in the Bible that each person has a guardian angel. Angels came to men during the miraculous ages of the world, but always with a clear and distinct form and with a clear, well delivered message from God. They never influenced men in a mysterious way, nor is there any evidence that they sought to lead or influence them otherwise than through the message they delivered to them. None of us believe they come in visible form or with an audible message now. If they do not, I cannot see how they can affect men or their course. The Bible says, “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him and delivereth them.” However, this was from Psalms-a time when angels did come to reveal God’s word and to miraculously protect the Israelites. It means the same thing as the expression: “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. (Questions And Answers pp l5, 16.)

Lipscomb goes on to point out that the other passage most often supposed to teach the doctrine of guardian angels actually refers to the ministry of angels in giving the Jewish law and their visitations to men under that law. (Hebrews 1:1 2:5) The whole connection is a contrast between the ministry of angels in the Jewish law and the ministry of Christ under the Christian dispensation. Reading from chapter 1:1 through 2:5, we see the superiority the ministry of Christ has over the ministry of angels throughout. The connection clearly shows that the angels ministered to them by giving them the law and revealing the will of God. But the Christian age, “The world to come,” has not been subjected to the ministration of angels. Rather, it has been subjected to the ministration of Jesus who is greater even than the angels. (Lipscomb, p 16).

INSURMOUNTABLE DIFFICULTIES OF INDIVIDUAL GUARDIAN ANGELS

Still the whole concept involves difficulties that I believe are insurmountable. They cannot be resolved either in scripture or in experience.

First, this doctrine cannot be reconciled with the clear, explicit teaching of the scriptures regarding the free agency of man. Those who believe this doctrine teach that angels exercise watchful care and protection over God’s people. Protection from what? Illness? Injury? Violent death? Many of God’s finest servants languish on beds of affliction; their every wakeful hour in excruciating agony. Where is their guardian angel in this time of interminable pain and lonely, sleepless nights? Where is their guardian angel when Christians die in horrible accidents or automobile collisions? How can this doctrine be harmonized when those recurring and all too common tragedies among Christians? How can it be harmonized with Romans 8:18-23 which teaches us that these tragedies are the common lot of all men-even me apostles? A theory in conflict both with God’s word and known and demonstrable facts cannot be true.

Secondly, this doctrine is fraught with many of the same errors as the current theory of direct, independent operation of the Holy Spirit separate and apart from the word of God-the New Testament. It necessitates the conclusion that there is immediate, personal direction by the angel on his ward. How is this accomplished? By the implantation of thoughts in the heart? If so, how could the recipient of such alleged suggestions determine whether they originated from the angel or from some other source? “We can tell by the Bible they say.” If so why may not the Bible be appealed to always and everywhere for such direction, since it is the monitor by which the “leading” of the angel is determined? What possible suggestion could the angel make contributory to the well being of the disciple which is not already set forth in the scriptures? Is the angel’s direction irresistible or dependent on the will of the disciple? If the former, is the disciple responsible for his failure to follow the angel’s leading?

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ORIGIN OF ANGELS

Two installments on the subject of angels have already dealt with Guardian Angels, the definition of angels and misconceptions about them, and the fact that until judgment day, when the saved are given their home in Heaven, angels make up the family of God in Heaven. Now, looking again only to the scriptures to teach us, we wish to examine the origin of angels. This study will lead us also to a consideration of the origin of Satan and the demons.

ANGELS ARE CREATED BEINGS

Angels are created, not eternal, beings. The Apostle Paul, writing by inspiration to the saints in Colasse clearly taught the creation of angels saying, “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by him, and for him.” (Colossians 1:16; cf. Eph 3:9; Heb 1:2; John 1:3).

When these words are considered there can be no doubt that angels are not by nature eternal beings, but in fact have their origin as part of God’s creation. But when did God create the angels? He probably did not do it in the six days of the creation of the universe. We base this contention upon the fact that everything created during those six days is carefully named, and yet we have no account of the creation of angels. As we try to determine just when the angels were created, considerations of another class of angels enter into the picture. We have not yet discussed these angels, but to study them now will help us with this question.

INFERNAL ANGELS

In addition to earthly messengers (angels) and celestial messengers, the angels we are really concerned with in this study, there are also infernal angels. These are evil angels who wait upon and serve the Devil. They are the demons. The book of Revelation reports the entrance of these angels into evil, so giving us an account of the origin of demons.

“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon fought his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him… Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the seal for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” (Revelation 12:7-9, 12).

Jesus said in Luke 10:18, “I behold Satan as listening fall from heaven.” This great war and the origination of demonhood must have occurred after the origin of all the angels, and after the creation of the earth (since Satan was cast into it at the end of the war), but anterior to Satan’s appearance on earth in the Garden of Eden. Clearly, Satan had, by the time of his appearance in Eden, already fallen “as lightening,” having lost the war in heaven. Before the great war in heaven, before Adam’s last day in the Garden of Eden, angels were created. But did this creation of angels occur between the creation of the universe and the great war? Or was it during the creation of the universe? Or was it before the Genesis account? A final passage may help us to narrow down the period in which angels came into being, Job 38:4-7.

“Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? Or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? Or who laid the corner stone thereof, When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”

The New International Version equates the phrase “sons of God” with angels in this passage. And as the LORD speaks to Job, the indication seems to be that angels were certainly created before the sixth day of creation, and with all probability on or before the first day. All of this information taken together seems to place the creation of the angels sometime before Genesis 1:1. And that is as close as we can determine. They are not eternal, but as far as we can tell, they were in existence prior to the creation of the universe.

But what about these evil angels we have discussed? Where did they come from? Did God create them as evil beings?

LuciferTHE ORIGIN OF SATAN

As we consider the origin of Satan and his demons, we must look at some passages of scriptures from the prophets that are written in Apocalyptic Language. This symbolical form of writing was used by several of the Bible writers – Daniel, Ezekiel, Isaiah, and John the Revelator. The Book of Revelation is, in fact, called The Apocalypse, which means veiled or hidden until revealed. Apocalyptic writers used symbolical language to reveal truths to those to whom he addressed his work while at the same time keeping the message hidden from others. Persecutors of the truth could not understand the meaning, and so Apocalypic Language was a form of protection for the writer and the receivers. This language is used about Satan to describe other people, the intention being to show how they and their sins are like Satan and his sins. Isaiah, writing about the King of Babylon, actually reveals a great deal to us about Satan.

“How art thou fallen from heaven, 0 Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” (Isaiah 14:12-15).

Ezekiel 28:12-19 describes to us the high position once occupied by Satan, and even speaks of the perfectness of his ways until iniquity was found in him (verse 15) and he suffered the judgment of God. Ezekiel Apocalyptically gives us this picture as he describes the King of Tyre. These two passages teach us much about Satan’s character. Several New Testament passages also describe the origin of Satan and the demons. Paul wrote to Timothy about the qualifications of elders saying in I Timothy 3:36, “Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.” (emphasis mine – AWB). Jude 6 says, “…the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” Peter also speaks of “the angels that sinned” and their judgment (2 Peter 2:4). The Scriptures teach that Satan was, when created, a great angel with much influence in heaven. It seems to be implied in Ezekiel and Isaiah that Satan was the first angel in creation, rank, and power. However, he became lifted up with pride, and rebelled against God by trying to raise himself to an even higher station than God had given him. In fact he actually sought to overthrow God. Consequently, he was cast down to earth with all the angels who followed him. Here we have the origin of Satan and his demons. They were not created evil, but through their own iniquity became so. When Satan was cast down to earth, it was then that the appeared in Eden to tempt man, and he continues his pernicious work as the deceiver of nations to this day.

It is well to note in all of this that the angels were under law. I John 3:4 says, “sin is the transgression of the law,” and Paul said, “where no law is, there is no transgression,” (Romans 4:15). And yet Peter, as we noted previously, spoke of “the angels that sinned,” (2 Peter 2:4). We must conclude that the angels were indeed under law. Having once fallen under the power of darkness, those angels that sinned were forever condemned to Hell, which Jesus said was “prepared for the devil and his angels. In this, we note a tremendous difference between the way God has treated us and the way He treated the sinful angels. They never had a Savior. Once under the power of darkness, that is where they were consigned to stay forever. However, God has given to us a means of deliverance, and we should be eternally grateful for it.

“Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:” ( Colossians 1:13-14).

CONCLUSION

The scriptures teach us that the angels are indeed created, not eternal, beings. They were created, in all probability, by God prior to the creation account we find in Genesis chapter one. Satan and his angels, the demons, were also created by God, not as evil beings but the same as all the other angels. By their own sin they fell into eternal condemnation. And thus we see the origin of all the angels and the origin of the evil angels, and as we consider the state of the latter, we are bound to thank God always for the hope we have through Jesus Christ. We intend in the next article to study the Nature of Angels.

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Choirs of Angels

ANGELS MENTIONED 227
TIMES IN SACRED SCRIPTURE

Angel (Hebrew: malach/malachim; Greek: aggelos/aggelois; Latin: angelus/ angeli) means messenger or one who is deputed. It can refer to angels of the lowest choir, who have the greatest interaction with mankind, to the angelic nature of any spiritual creature who comes to man in God´s name, or even to a human messenger.

The word ‘Angels’ is derived from the Greek word “Angelos” meaning “messenger”. Angels are said to be the Messengers of God. Different religious faiths refer to them by different names. They are highly spiritual beings.

Since the beginning of time, the angels have brought messages to humans. It was Archangel Gabriel who told Virgin Mary that she was going to have a baby, and that the child was the Son of God. In Indian Mythology, angels are known as Devatas, Apsaras, Gandharvas and other such names based on their hierarchy.

Traditionally there are said to be seven archangels – Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Jophiel, Chamuel, Uriel and Raguel.

ANGELS and WHAT THEY DO
HIERARCHY of ANGELS
The rich imagery of Isaiah reveals that the Seraphim are closest to the throne of God. This means that they perceive God in the richest way possible for a created being and thus they have an unmatched intellect, will and love.

FIRST CHOIR
1. Seraphim, 2. Cherubin, 3. Thrones – closest to heaven concern themselves with contemplating the glory of God. It is the 6-winged Seraphim who sing the Sanctus, “Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of Hosts” (Isaias 6:3).

1. SERAPHIM
Seraphim (singular “Seraph”), mentioned in Isaiah 6:1-7 serve as the caretakers of God’s throne and continuously shout praises: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts. All the earth is filled with His Glory.” The name Seraphim means “the burning ones.” It is said that the charity of the Seraphim burns like white heat in a flame. The Seraphim have six wings; two covering their faces, two covering their genitals (“feet”), and two with which they fly.

 2. CHERUBIM
Cherubim have four faces: one of each a man, an ox, a lion, and a griffon vulture. They have four conjoined wings covered with eyes, and they have ox’s feet. Cherubim guard the way to the tree of life in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:24) and the throne of God (Ezekiel 28:14-16). — The cherubim are mentioned in Genesis 3:24; Exodus 25:17-22; 2 Chronicles 3:7-14; Ezekiel 10:12–14, 28:14-16; 1 Kings 6:23–28; and Revelation 4:6-8. Cherubim are also the angels often depicted as babies with wings in Christian art.

3. THRONES 
The “Thrones” (Gr. thronos) or Elders, are a class of celestial beings mentioned by Paul of Tarsus in Colossians 1:16 (New Testament). They are living symbols of God’s justice and authority, and have as one of their symbols the throne. These high celestial beings appear to be mentioned again in Revelation 11:16. Also see Ezekiel 10:17, and vision of Daniel 7 – 9).

SECOND CHOIR
4. Domininations, 5. Virtues, 6. Powers. The second order of angels are charged with governing and ordering the laws of the created universe.

4. DOMINATIONS 
The “Dominions” (lat. dominatio, plural dominationes, also translated from the Greek term kyriotites as “Lordships”) are presented as the hierarchy of celestial beings “Lordships” in the De Coelesti Hierarchia. The Dominions, regulate the duties of lower angels. It is only with extreme rarity that they make themselves physically known to humans and are believed to look like beautiful humans with feathered wings as shown in art. They are also the angels who preside over nations.

5. VIRTUES  
The “Virtues” or “Strongholds” lie beyond the ophanim (Thrones/Wheels). Their primary duty is to supervise the movements of the heavenly bodies in order to ensure that the cosmos remains in order. The term also appears to be linked to the attribute “might”, from a Greek root. In Ephesians 1:21, which is also translated as “Virtue”. They are charged with giving the power with which to accomplish the ordering of Nature.

6. POWERS 
The “Powers” (lat. potestas (f), pl. potestates), or “Authorities”, from the Greek exousies, (see Greek root in Eph 3:10) appear to collaborate, in power and authority, with the Principalities (Rulers). They are bearers of conscience and keepers of history. They are also the warrior angels created to be completely loyal to God. Their duty is to oversee the distribution of power among humankind, hence their name. Finally, the choir of Powers are given the duty to order out how to execute what has been commanded. The choir of Powers direct the lower choirs on how to order creation.

The Hierarchy of AngelsTHIRD CHOIR
7. Principalities, 8. Archangels, 9. Angels (closest to earth) concern themselves with creation and are the most familiar to us.

7. PRINCIPALITIES
“Principalities” (lat. principatus, pl. principats) also translated as “Princedoms” and “Rulers”, from the Greek arche (see Greek root in Eph 3:10), appear to collaborate, in power and authority with the Powers (Authorities). Shown wearing a crown and carrying a sceptre, their duty is also said to be to carry out the orders given to them by the Dominions and bequeath blessings to the material world. Their task is to oversee groups of people. They are the educators and guardians of the realm of earth. Like beings related to the world of the germinal ideas, they are said to inspire living things to many things such as art or science. Principalities are the leaders of the last order, and direct the actual implementation of God’s will.

 8. ARCHANGELS 
The word “arch-angel” comes from the Greek (archangls), meaning chief angel, a translation of the Hebrew (rav-mal’ákh) It derives from the Greek arch, meaning to be first in rank or power; which means messenger. The word is only used twice in the New Testament: 1 Thessalonians 4:16 and Jude 1:9. Only archangels Michael and Gabriel are mentioned by name in the New Testament.

 9. ANGELS
The “angels”, (malakhim Greek for messengers), are the lowest order of the angels, and the most recognized and are most concerned with the affairs of living things. In this category of angels, there are many different kinds with different functions. Archangels and Angels actually carry out and execute what is to be done. They are the messengers to mankind. This is why angels (such as Gabriel and Raphael) are the choir sent to communicate with man.

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How many wings do angels have?

We’ve all seen the pictures and statues of angels with a lovely set of bird like wings, but when you go to the Bible they are described as having 4 or six wings. In 1 Kings 8:7. For the Cherubims spread forth their two wings over the place of the ark, and the Cherubims covered the ark and the staves thereof above.
They are described as having two when crafted upon the arc of the covenant.
In 2 chronicles 3:11. And the wings of the cherubims were twenty cubits long: one wing of the one cherub was five cubits, reaching to the wall of the house: and the other wing was likewise five cubits, reaching to the wing of the other cherub.

20 cubits would be 30 ft, however it then says that each wing was only 8 ft. so the cherubin they were fastened to must have been 14 ft. wide where the wings were attached.
In Ezekiel1:6. And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings.
They gain an extra two wings.
But then we get to the book of isaiah and we find 2. Above it stood the seraphims each one had six wings with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.

These angels which he saw before the throne of God, have six wings, with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he did fly. Now lets look at this from a practical view point. How would you like to go flying, with two wings covering your face, be kind of rough trying to see where you’re going, wouldn’t it? now think about those two wings covering his feet, they might make landing a touch dangerous don’t you think? there has to be another meaning, a parable that isn’t explained here. First off, what was the purpose of the wings? The rationale was that God was above us in the third heaven, in order to report to God, they had to be able to fly up to the throne of God. God does not need the angels to fly where He is to report to Him, the Holy spirit takes care of that. The Holy Spirit is God’s internet and telephone system. If humans can figure out how to do something, God knew how to do it thousands of years ago. The angels communicate with each other through the Holy Spirit, this is also how God communicated with His prophets. O.K. the angels don’t need the wings to fly with, because there are billions of angels covering the earth, they have the Holy spirit to communicate with so they don’t need to fly anywhere. the two that cover the face are a parable for the fact that we can be standing right next to an angel, and not recognize them for who they are. Remember Jesus’ words, Matthew 25: 40. And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Do angels have wings, Are they Men or Women, or Both?There are two major theological points in that verse, but the one I’m dealing with here is the fact that Jesus can say that because one of His angels received that treatment, which was sent straight to God, and by the way, if you say Jesus, you are saying God, if you say God, you are saying Jesus, because they are one and the same. The wings covering the face are a parable for your not being able to recognize them as an angel of God, unless they reveal themselves. The wings that cover the feet are a parable for the fact that no one can track them, if an angel does something you will never be able to track them down and tell them, you’re responsible for this, they can’t be traced, because they do their work through the Holy spirit which is the only part of God that is invisible. We see Him every day in the presence of His angels that walk among us, which is what Jesus meant by what He said in verse 40.

So how many wings do angels have? 0, nada, none, no wings on angels. they don’t need them to do their work for God. the wings aren’t a myth, there are no myths in the Bible, only parables, a parable is a false story that tells a truth. For instance Jesus’ story of the good Samaritan, was a parable, everybody knows that and no one has a problem with the fact that there really was no good samaritan who took care of the stranger. It was a false story used to tell a truth, we are to help those who are in need, whether we know them or not. the wings of angels were a parable designed to tell a truth about God and his angels, while they can’t fly, they are everywhere God sends them and they know everything God tells them!

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The Doctrine Of Angels #3

In this series the nature of angels has been examined. To review, the angels are created beings, spiritual beings, personal beings, super-human in strength and intelligence. Angels are an order of being that is distinct from man, separate from man, entirely different from man. Angels constitute a company rather than a race. They’re not a race as each one was created separately and individually. There are tremendous numbers of angels and they are highly organized, both God’s holy angels and the satanic order of beings.

It was also previously noted that there are different orders of spiritual beings, that not all beings in heaven are angels. There are other orders of created beings such as the cherubim, who bear some similarities, yet are quite different from the angels. The cherubim possess unusual features in that they had four faces and four wings. It was the prophet Ezekiel’s record of them (chapter 1) that described them as possessing four faces and four wings. Yet in a later chapter (chapter 41), he mentions the cherubim again, but in this account he observed only two faces and four wings.

Does that mean there is a biblical error?

People are always ready to say, “You see, the Bible contains a mistake! The Bible contradicts itself. Over there they’ve got four faces while here they have two.” Beloved, all one need to do is look at these things with a little spiritual wisdom and one readily perceives that there are different kinds of cherubim. Some have four faces while others have only two faces. There are things in heaven that are just beyond man’s comprehension and grasp. God allows only modest glimpses into the spiritual realm and the created beings. As much as I’ve studied, my mind still has a difficult time picturing a four-faced being with four wings who never turns around to change direction. We can, however, agree that these are impressive creatures, endowed with special abilities. Perhaps they are so designed in order to more quickly respond to and carry out God’s orders. That’s precisely what the cherubim do, in addition to acting as the divine guardians of God, guardians of His holiness.

The magnificent seraphim with their six wings were also discussed. Although they are somewhat similar to men in bodily appearance, yet they are also quite different. The seraphim are winged creatures that fly over the throne of God declaring God’s majesty, rejoicing in His attributes — leaders in the worship and glory.

II. THE NUMBER AND ORGANIZATION OF ANGELS (continuation)

D. The Moral Character of Angels.

All of the angels were created holy.

God saw everything that he had created, and, behold, it was very good…. [Gen. 1:31]

All that God created was perfect, holy and good in the beginning. God, being perfect, possessing all of His attributes in perfection, is incapable of producing evil or creating anything evil. All that He created was good; it was right. The angels were created good, i.e., moral and pure. When God created man, man was good. He wasn’t defiled, fallen or sinful. God, however, did not create robots.

As expressed in earlier studies of some of these doctrines, God created both men and angels as free moral agents, giving them the right to make choices. Whom does one serve? One can obey God or disobey God. God did not create man as a robot who lacks the ability to make choice(s). Robots are controlled by their operator and follow what they’re programmed to do. God didn’t make the highest form of His creation into objects unable to make choices, but made them free moral agents with the ability to choose to serve God or rebel. Man can choose to obey God’s Word or disobey.

The same situation was true with the angels in that they were given freedom to choose. They could be holy; they could obey God or they could follow the example of Lucifer and some did. All of the angels were created holy and there were none that were not created good. They had a choice to obey or disobey just as man did, but some of them made unwise choices and sinned, falling from their state of innocence.

Theologians like to talk about the state of innocence because when man began with Adam and Eve, man was innocent. He didn’t even know he was naked. His mind was not polluted, defiled or corrupt. The same was true with angels; they were innocent and undefiled. All the angels were originally holy, righteous, pure and just. All that God created was good, but some angels fell from their state of innocence, with Lucifer being the first. The Bible says that Lucifer yielded to the temptation of pride. He exalted himself above God and in his rebellion, some of the angels followed him. That topic will be dealt with later in this study. Suffice it for now to look at this passage:

For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell (the Greek word there is tartarus which is some sort of prison for fallen angels), and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment…. [2 Pe. 2:4]

This scriptural passage speaks of the angels that sinned. Some sinned, some fell with Lucifer. Another passage found in the small book of Jude also speaks of those angels that sinned, who did not keep their own beginning but they left their proper habitation.

And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. [Jude 1:6]

These angels fell from the state of innocence and sinned. It is their moral character being considered. While all were created holy, some did sin. Let’s also point out, however, that most maintained their innocence. The vast majority remained faithful to God. Both good and evil groups of angels now exist.

E. The Ministry of Angels.

Angels exist and live among us; one might say they’re right alongside. The angels interact with men, far more than most realize. Someone has said that our closest neighbors are the angels, not the people next door or in the apartment upstairs. It’s an intriguing thought and the Bible appears to confirm that the angels are always present, interacting with men. The appearance of angels appears far more often in the Bible than men take note of. It appears to be something one is prone to overlook. One usually tends to think of angels as an Old Testament phenomenon but in reading the New Testament, one notes that angels put in frequent appearances. Angels are at work far more often than one realizes and many times their ministry is overlooked.

The Employment of Angels — What’s Their Job?

Just what do the holy angels actually do? As frequently depicted in artistic interpretations, do they simply lie about on clouds and play harps? Fortunately, knowledge concerning their activities is available to us through God’s Word. It is known that they worship God and always stand in His presence. The angels extol God’s greatness and continually declare His attributes and His perfection. Day and night, the seraphim declare, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord.

From previous studies, it is known that the angels rejoice with God. They rejoice with God when He rejoices because their hearts are united to the heart of God. They rejoice with God over the sinner that repents.

…there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. [Lk. 15:10]

The angels rejoiced when God created the world.

When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? [Job 38:7]

As God flung the stars and the planets into space, at this display of His omnipotence, the angels rejoiced.

It is beyond man’s ability to imagine that God who is spirit, Jesus Christ the eternal Son of God that the book of Colossians says created all things, simply spoke the worlds into existence. That’s very difficult for man’s small, finite mind to conceive but that’s precisely what the Bible says happened. God said, Let there be…. and there was! He said, Let the earth exist…. and there it was! The angels were present when God spoke the entire universe into existence and they rejoiced at this display of divine omnipotence, (BTW do you think God Needed to speak for everything to come into existence? Or could the Almighty have done it with pure thought.) That the angels rejoice with God is known, however, there is more to be examined concerning their varied ministry.

1. The angels often appear as spokesmen for God.

The angels often appear as divine messengers, i.e., spokesmen for God, messengers from God. This is particularly true in the New Testament. For example, in Luke, chapter 1, an angel appears to Zacharias, the husband of Elisabeth, both of whom are well along in years. As Zacharias goes about his priestly ministry in the temple, the angel Gabriel appears to him. Let’s take time to note that this Gabriel is one and the same angel that appeared to Daniel in the Old Testament. He now appears in the New Testament, hundreds of years later but unaffected by age. The angels never age; they don’t die.

Gabriel has been dispatched to bring God’s message to Zacharias, saying that God has heard his prayers and that he will father a son. Now Zacharias is an old man at this time and questions saying, How is this going to be? In the natural, Zacharias and his wife were well beyond their childbearing years. In response to the doubts of Zacharias, the angel said:

And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season. [Lk. 1:20]

God’s word is certain and Elisabeth bore a son whom the couple named John as the word of God had directed through the angel. Known to all as John the Baptist, he grew to be a mighty prophet of God. The point here is that angels serve in the role of messengers. As spokesman for God, Gabriel appeared to Zacharias and told him, This is what is going to happen. God sent me here to tell you this — to give you this message.

An angel also appeared to Mary, giving her a message concerning the child she was going to bear. Now it took an angelic appearance to present such a message. One can only imagine the impact on a young unmarried woman who has never been with a man. Then suddenly this angel appears telling her:

…The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. [Lk. 1:35]

Mary’s response to the angel’s announcement was quite different from Zacharias’ response. Zacharias wanted explanation as to how this was going to happen, but Mary’s response was:

… Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. [Lk. 1:38]

Mary’s submission to the will of God was immediate. That’s the way one’s response should be when God makes profound promises. One’s response should never be, “What! How’s He going to do that? Explain that to me.” One’s response should always be, “Lord, let it be unto me according to thy word. Just as you said it — let it be.” That’s the response that God desires.
The angel also had to appear to Joseph because one can imagine what his response was when he found that his future wife was going to have a baby and he knew that he wasn’t the father. He was going to put her away, the Bible says. He was going to privately break their engagement because he was a just man and didn’t want to make a public display of her. The angel came to Joseph in a dream giving him assurance that Mary had not been unfaithful to him.

… behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. [Matt. 1:20]

Here again,

the angel appears in the role as spokesman, a bearer of divine tidings.

Another passage where an angel appears as spokesman or messenger from God is found in Luke, chapter 2. At the outset of this series of messages, we said that the Greek word angelos (angel) actually means messenger. It can mean either a divine messenger or a human messenger, depending on the context.

In Luke 2, the account is that Joseph had to go to his home town in order to be taxed. Mary accompanied him, but when they got to Bethlehem, there was no room available at the inn so they have to stay in the stable. Use your imagination to picture what the stable was like. The Christmas nativity scenes make everything appear so clean and unblemished, etc., but have you ever been in a stable? Have you ever been in a stable at night when it’s full of horses, donkeys and camels, etc.? If the inn was filled and packed with people, be assured that the stable was filled with their animals also.

There were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. [Lk. 2:8]

It is also obvious that the time wasn’t December 24th or 25th because the shepherds wouldn’t have been in the fields that late in winter. Both shepherds and sheep would have frozen to death. At any rate, I don’t want to preach that now. Suffice it to say it’s not wrong to celebrate Jesus birth at some time in the year…

…the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. [Lk. 2:9]

The scene depicts shepherds in the fields watching over their sheep. Sometime during the night an angel suddenly appears to them.

10…the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. 12And this shall be a sign unto you; ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13And suddenly (As the angel makes his announcement — he’s a spokesman for God — as he announces the great tidings) there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men. [Lk. 2:10-14]

As the angel finishes his message to these shepherds, all of heaven appears to open with a gigantic angelic choir joining in the praise. Just try to picture this scene for a moment. Back in the 1700’s when Charles Wesley was reading this passage of scripture, it became the inspiration for the song which he wrote, “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing.” Today people have adapted it for a Christmas carol but it wasn’t written as a Christmas carol. The words and melody came to Wesley by divine inspiration. It’s a blessed song. “Hark, the herald angels sing! Glory to the newborn King. Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled. Joyful all ye nations rise, join the triumph of the skies. With angelic host proclaim, Christ is born in Bethlehem!”

I can just picture the heavens rolled back and angels everywhere rejoicing at the birth of Christ. Here again, the angels appear as spokesmen, i.e., divine messengers bringing great tidings, glad tidings that will be to all people. “God and sinners reconciled.” The multitude of angels appears rejoicing and praising God.
In Matthew, chapter 2, an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream, warning him to take Mary and Jesus and flee into Egypt. Herod was plotting to kill the one born King of the Jews as he wanted no one becoming a threat to his throne. It was at that time that he ordered all the children in Bethlehem less than two years of age to be killed. An angel brought the message to Joseph to flee to Egypt with the child. Joseph wisely obeyed and remained in Egypt until Herod died. Once again, the angel appeared as a messenger with tidings from God.

Another passage found in Acts, chapter 10, reveals that an angel appeared to the Roman soldier, Cornelius. The Bible describes him as a man who prayed always. Cornelius was very devout, seeking God in his heart. Although he was an unsaved heathen, Cornelius had a heart after God. He wanted to know God and diligently sought God through prayer. An angel appeared to Cornelius telling him, Send to the city of Joppa for Peter. Send for Peter and he will come to you and give you the message of eternal life. Cornelius complied and immediately sent men to Joppa to obey the angel’s direction. The angel appeared as a spokesman for God with the result being that Peter came to Cornelius’ house and preached the word to him and all his family and household. As Peter preached, the Holy Spirit fell on them, baptizing them with the Holy Spirit. As they began to speak in tongues, Peter was astonished because these were Gentiles receiving the Holy Ghost! Peter was under the impression that this message was only for the Jews, but an angel gave him direction.

This passage in Acts 10 is a good response to all those who come saying, “Well, I think God’s unfair because He’s going to send those people in India, Timbuktu, or Indonesia, or Pango-pango, He’s going to send them to hell and they’ve never had an opportunity to hear the gospel. They’ve never heard the name of Jesus preached to them and God’s just not fair to send them to hell.” The Bible reveals that if people have a heart for God, if people truly seek after God, if they search for Him with all their heart, God says that they will find Him. If He has to send an angel to them, He will. God will do whatever it takes. If they have a heart for God, they’ll find God. If they want to know God, God will send an angel if that’s what it takes to give them the gospel. God will send them where they can get the gospel or send for a modern-day Peter. Perhaps He will send for you. This I know, God is not unfair. God is righteous and just in all that He does and if people want to know God, He’ll make a way for them to know Him. Of that one can be assured. Again, the angels appear as spokesmen, divine messengers, who came to Cornelius with the message, Here’s how you can be saved. Send for Simon Peter.

A few chapters over in Acts, chapter 27, an angel appears to Paul while he’s on a ship — a sinking ship at that. They’ve been on board a ship for some two weeks and the ship is in the midst of a storm. The ship is sinking in spite of their efforts. In order to lighten the load, the crew has thrown everything overboard, all cargo, etc. Yet the ship is going down, when an angel appears to Paul, saying:

Be comforted, the ship is going to sink but everybody who stays with you is going to be saved. Paul’s response was, 25Be of good cheer; an angel of God has spoken to me and said we’d all be safe even though the ship is going to sink. And Paul says, I believe God. I’m just going to believe God’s word that even in the midst of all this storm and rough seas and even though it looks like we’re perishing and the ship’s sinking…. [Acts 27:25]

Natural circumstances would appear that Paul and all on board were “done for.” But Paul said, I believe God. Again, the angel appeared as a spokesman with a very comforting message to Paul at precisely the right time.

The employment or ministry of the angels is that of spokesmen for God, bearers of divine messages. That’s how they appear throughout the Bible.

2. The angels minister to the saints.

The angels offer protection, give assistance, bring deliverance, and provide aid or help. The role of the angels includes ministry to the saints. The Bible has this to say about the role of angels:

Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation? [Heb. 1:14]

Angels are sent forth by God to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation, or as Williams translates it:

They are sent forth to serve for the sake of the elect. [Heb. 1:14, Wms.]
That’s a powerful verse revealing that God dispatches His angels to minister to those who shall inherit eternal life. They minister for God to those who will inherit eternal life, offering protection and preservation. Many can remember personal past experiences of having had a narrow escape, possibly even barely missing death. In retrospect, we wonder how we missed being killed in some near tragedy. These incidents could have even occurred in the days before salvation, but remember:

Known unto God are all of his works from the beginning of the world. [Acts 15:18]

God knows the end from the beginning. He knows. You were chosen for salvation from before the foundation of the world. God knows who is going to be saved and He preserved us even back in B.C. (Before Christ) days. It should not surprise us that angels are dispatched to shield and protect the elect of God for they are sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation.

Only recently I read an article in a popular Christian magazine where a couple was relating an experience they’d had. They were wallpapering an upstairs bedroom and they had their little toddler crawling around on the floor. The couple was busy — cutting, pasting and hanging the paper and had opened a window for ventilation. Their young toddler was having a good time taking little strips of the wallpaper and dropping them out the window, watching them flutter down in the breeze. The baby climbed higher and higher onto the window sill so that he could watch the paper flutter all the way to the ground. The parents had just turned to check on the baby only to see him topple out the window. They began screaming, running down the stairs as fast as they could. The article described the feelings the parents experienced in their hearts, i.e., the fear that the baby had fallen down onto the concrete that was just under the window. As they got downstairs and ran out onto the porch, the baby was sitting down on the steps with its arms crossed – just sitting there! Mom and Dad grabbed the baby so thankful that it was all right. Then the toddler said, “The big man caught me.” Mom and Dad were so thankful, so grateful. They considered, “What a coincidence that a big man was standing out under our window.” They lived in a rural area, surrounded by countryside. This was not a suburb where someone might happen to pass on the sidewalk. The parents began to look all about for “the big man.” Where is this big man? Where could he have gotten to so quickly? Have you guessed? There was no big man to be found. Undoubtedly, God sent His angel to preserve the life of this young child.

Be assured that the angels are at work! Sometimes I think that our children keep them working overtime. Each can no doubt think of experiences where God has preserved and kept. It could very well be that it was the angels at work because God sends them forth in that type ministry. They work as God’s agents in that capacity.
Some years ago we were living in an old house with very high ceilings. The chandelier fixtures were extremely heavy, made of leaded glass. Our daughter, was just a newborn. My wife’s custom was to place the baby in one of those travel seats and position it on the dining table, right under that big, heavy chandelier. As my wife worked in the kitchen, she could see the baby all the time. On one particular occasion as my wife was in the kitchen, the baby started screaming. It wasn’t just a little whimper, but enough of a scream to get my wife in there to minister to her. When a baby screams like that, parents know something is wrong. My wife went to the table, picked up the baby, walked out of the dining room through the kitchen when she heard a loud crash, sounding like an explosion. When she turned to see what had happened, that huge chandelier had fallen. It had come loose from the ceiling and had fallen right onto the table where the baby had been. No more than 30 seconds had lapsed since my wife had removed the baby from the exact spot where that chandelier crashed. I shudder to think what would have happened had the baby been there when the chandelier fell. This I know, and I don’t care what people say or think, I sincerely believe that it was an angel of God who got the baby to cry. God moved and got my wife’s attention so that she got the baby out of danger and just in the nick of time, too. The Bible clearly states that the angels are at work. A familiar passage is:

There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. [Ps. 91:10]

…He will give His angels charge over you…. that’s what God says. There shall no evil befall thee…. Why? Because the angels are all about. Praise God! They minister on behalf of believers …for the heirs of salvation…. That’s not to say that men can command the angels to do their bidding; the angels do God’s bidding. It’s a blessing to have that comfort to know that God says the angels are not only His guardians but also guardians of the believers. The cherubim stand guard over the throne of God, the holiness of God, and God’s given His angels charge over believers as well. What a blessed assurance!

I could not begin to tell the many reports of protection, of preservation by angels that have come from almost every part of the globe. Believers relate their testimonies, events of things that have happened in their lives where they knew that angels were present to preserve or protect them. More than once I’ve heard testimonies of people who knew they were accompanied by angels when in some critical or dangerous situation. Reports include such instances as seeing the fright in the faces of the malefactor(s) as they were thwarted in attempts at robbery, etc. Although the believer could not visibly see any angelic being(s), apparently the culprit(s) could because they suddenly turned and ran.

Angelic BattleAn interesting report concerned a missionary who had been dispatched to an uncivilized part of the world. It was an area of head hunters who practiced cannibalism and apparently they had decided to practice their craft and have the missionary as the main course for dinner. Drumbeats were sounding and the missionary knew that he was in trouble. As the natives approached to capture the missionary, they were suddenly frightened away. Although the natives got within sight of him, they never approached. They just stood, looking and eventually dispersed back into the jungle again. Later one of the head hunters got saved, and he asked the missionary where the army on white horses came from, the army that was standing all around the missionary on the night they came to attack. The natives planned to boil him — have missionary stew. When the natives approached, they were amazed to find an army surrounding them. Now the missionary did not see the army but obviously, the natives did. Again, God had given His angels charge over the missionary to protect him.

The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. [Ps. 34:7]

The Bible contains numerous accounts of angelic protection. As early as Genesis, chapter 19, when God is about to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, He sent angels into the city to get Lot and his family. Now that’s grace, because in previous studies we learned that Lot was a compromiser and backslider. Also to be seen here is the power of intercessory prayer as Abraham prayed for Lot. I’m convinced in my own mind that it was because of Abraham that God sent the angels to get Lot and his family out of the city, (Just as when you pray for your family, it moves God, maybe not for their sake but for yours.) The angels tarried a long time with Lot just to get him to leave Sodom. There’s a case where God uses the angels to minister as servants. God sent them to bring Lot and his family out of Sodom before He destroyed the place. I also believe God is going to notify His people before He puts the hammer down on this city or our nation. Even if He has to send an angel to do it, I believe that God will notify His elect.
The angels protected Daniel when he was cast into the den of lions (Daniel, chapter 6). Daniel was a separated, holy living, righteous man, a just man and God saw to it that this man of faith was protected. He was never evilly spoken of in the scriptures. Daniel was a man who refused to compromise and God was not going to abandon him. God dispatched angels to encamp around this man and preserve him. That’s precisely what the angels did when the king cast Daniel into the den of lions.

A scriptural passage in 1 Kings, chapter 19, relates how an angel ministered to Elijah. After he had killed all the prophets of Baal, Queen Jezebel declared she was going to have Elijah’s neck. Elijah feared for his life and ran and hid in the midst of the wilderness. He was in a state of exhaustion, fell to the ground, even despairing of life. An angel had been dispatched by God and said, Get up and eat this. An angel fed Elijah out in the middle of the wilderness. Eat this, the angel said, because you’re going on a long journey and you’re going to need this food. The power, the energy that Elijah received from eating that special food enabled him to go forty days without tiring or without hungering. Undoubtedly, this was special food that God fed Elijah through the angel. While it is not known what the food was, we do know with assurance that God will take care of His people. In times of famine God’s people will be satisfied.

9O fear the Lord, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him. 10The young lions do lack and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing. [Ps. 34:9-10]

All the people in the world, including the princes and kings of the world, might lack and suffer hunger

but God promises He will feed His own. If that means He has to send an angel with some of that special food, He will do it. Or if He has to multiply the cruse of oil and the meal, He will do that as well. God will multiply the bread and fishes or give us manna or even send an angel. Rest assured, God will feed us! That much I’m sure of — God will feed His people. We’ll not suffer. I’m committed to standing on the promises of God:

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. [Matt. 6:33]

If one will just seek first His kingdom, it won’t be necessary to worry about, What shall we eat? or what shall we drink? or wherewithal shall we be clothed? Jesus says that if one will seek first the kingdom then those things will not be objects for concern or anxiety. The kingdom has to be first though and one’s priorities in order. If one is unwise, seeking to reverse the order of priorities, then one cannot trust the Lord for provision.

Another passage (Acts, chapter 12) where God sends an angel is the account of Peter being miraculously delivered from prison. Most are familiar with that account as it’s been a topic of discussion in the past. Peter is imprisoned, chained and locked behind iron doors. Suddenly, an angel walks through the iron bars and walls, sets Peter free, bringing him out of the prison.

Acts, chapter 5, contains yet another passage. Again, God sends His angel into the prison and brings out the apostles.

There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one. [Acts 5:16]

The apostles were praying for the sick and multitudes were being healed. Demons were being cast out; the oppressed were being set free.

Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,)…. [Acts 5:17]

The high priest and those who were in authority were generally Sadducees and this religious sect denied anything supernatural. They didn’t believe in angels, demons, spirits or the afterlife.

…and were filled with indignation. [Acts 5:17]

Or as the margin reads, they were filled with envy because the people were flocking to the apostles.

Here’s a group of fishermen, tax collectors, uneducated people. Today they’d be termed “laymen.” Many of the common people were going to hear the laymen preach and multitudes were being healed and delivered. These pompous, arrogant priests were filled with envy.

18And (they) laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison. 19But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth…. (just set them free), and said, 20Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life. [Acts 5:18-20]

Go preach, go teach in the temple and teach them everything — all the words of life.

21When they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought. 22But when the officers came, and found them not in the prison, they returned, and told, 23saying, the prison truly found we shut with all safety…. [Acts 5:21-23]

The lock was still securely on the door, the prison door was closed and the guards were standing outside before the doors. The guards were still at their posts but when the doors were opened, the apostles simply weren’t there — no explanation. It’s an interesting passage but the point is God obviously sent the angels to deliver the apostles from imprisonment. If God wants His people free, no prison door will hold them — no jail, no rope, no chain, no fiery furnace, and no lions’ den. If He has to send an angel to free His servants as He did to the apostles or as He did for Peter in Acts 12, He will do it. If God has to send an earthquake to free His own from jail as He did in Philippi (Acts 16), God will not hesitate to do so. The angels are ministering spirits; they offer protection. They minister preservation to the children of God.

3. The angels guide us.

God uses the angels to bring guidance as when they guided Joseph and the holy family from Judea. The angelic messenger came to Joseph, telling him to get out of the jurisdiction of Herod and go to Egypt for the safety of the child, Jesus. The angel gave Joseph words of guidance.

Acts, chapter 8, contains the account of how an angel guided Philip who was engaged in preaching a revival in Samaria. People were being saved, healed and miracles were occurring when an angel arrived and said, I want you to leave this place and go out into the desert of Gaza.

And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. [Acts 8:26]

As Philip obeyed the angel, he met the Ethiopian eunuch who was reading from the scroll of Isaiah. Philip joined himself to the chariot, and preached Christ to the Ethiopian. As a result, the Ethiopian was saved and brought the gospel of Christ back to his home in Ethiopia. In so doing, the gospel message was spread yet farther. Again, the angels were used to bring guidance as God directed Philip.

4. The angels minister comfort.

The angels aid, bring comfort, strengthen and encourage the believer. Acts, chapter 27, tells of Paul who was being sent to Rome because he had appealed to Caesar to hear his petition. Paul gave a word of warning to those in authority about sailing at a time that was considered dangerous.

9Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them, 10And said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives. [Acts 27:9-10]

When events began to occur just as Paul had said and the ship and those on board were sinking, God sent an angel to bring words of encouragement and comfort. God’s word through the angel was:

23For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, 24Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee. 25Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it should be even as it was told me. [Acts 27:23-25]

Angels also came and ministered to Jesus after His temptation in the wilderness (Matthew, chapter 4). As Jesus resisted the devil, He was in a time of genuine spiritual warfare as the devil tempted Him in every possible way. It was following that time that the angels arrived to minister not only to Jesus’ physical needs, but also bringing comfort and encouragement.

The account of Jesus’ time of anguish in the Garden of Gethsemane was a time of intense mental and emotional suffering. As Jesus submitted to the will of the Father and to the cross, an angel appeared to Him.

And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. [Lk. 22:43]

Jesus was in a time of wrestling with the flesh as He realized that He had to go to the cross. Jesus had a human nature as well as His divine nature. It is important to realize this. The biblical account goes on to tell how that Jesus’ perspiration became great drops of blood during this time of great suffering. It was at that time that an angel arrived to strengthen Him.

This account should be encouraging to every believer because during those especially trying times that come to everyone, God will send an angel to strengthen and uplift. Perhaps this has happened in the past without your being aware, but saints, God will stand with believers when they go through the trials, the rivers and the floods. God is with His own and will send an angel, if necessary, to minister, strengthen and bring comfort. The Bible says:

Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation? [Heb. 1:14]

Heirs of salvation — that’s you and me! Hallelujah!

5. The angels also watch over the church.

There is a sense in which the angels not only watch over the believer but they also watch over the church. The angels are concerned about the church, the assembly. The angels are concerned about the ministry of the church, its message. The angels are concerned about the order in the church. Let’s look at a passage in 1 Corinthians, chapter 11, which is quite interesting. In order to understand what’s being said, we need to read the context. Paul says:

Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. [1 Cor. 11:1]

Follow me as I follow Christ is what Paul is saying.

Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you. [1 Cor. 11:2]

The church is supposed to observe the ordinances. That’s a topic on which we’ve had previous teaching.

But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. [1 Cor. 11:3]

Paul is talking about order in the church. The Corinthian church had allowed some things to get out of order. There was chaos and confusion when it came to the manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit. People were prophesying out of order, with no one interpreting. Things were out of order and part of this epistle is to set things in biblical order, in divine order, the proper form for the church. Paul does not rebuke the Corinthians for manifesting the gifts and prophesying, he is simply saying that everything needs to be done in order.

31For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted…. 39Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. 40Let all things be done decently and in order. [1 Cor. 14:31, 39-40]

Praise God for the tongues! Paul is setting the order for the church, and in these scripture passages, he’s speaking about divine order.

Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head. [1 Cor. 11:4]

When a man prays, when a man prophesies, his head should not be covered. Now that’s just the opposite of the Jewish custom which imposed that a man covers his head during prayer. When the Jewish male went into the temple, his head was covered. Now in Christianity it’s quite a bit different. A man should not have his head covered but Paul says in verse 5:

But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth (Bear in mind he’s talking about in the church — order in the church.) with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. [1 Cor. 11:5]

For a woman to not have her head covered when she prayed or prophesied in the church, Paul said was a disservice to her head, which is her husband, i.e., her man. It was the same as having her hair cut off which for a woman was considered shameful.

6For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn (Let her cut her hair off if she’s not going to wear her head covering.), but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. (Let her cover her head.) 7For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. 8For the man is not of the woman, but the woman of the man. (Woman wasn’t made first, man was. God created Adam and then woman from Adam.) 10For this cause (Now let’s see this. Remember, woman was created from Adam’s rib. She was man’s helpmeet and since this is the case, since man is the head of the woman) ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels. [1 Cor. 11:6-10] (PS. don’t shoot the messenger!)

Now

the word power here is an unfortunate translation in the Kings James. The marginal reading in the Bible says, “That she ought to have a covering on her head, a sign that she is under the authority of her husband. She ought to have her head covered as symbolic of her submission to her husband’s authority because the head covering is a sign of submission. It’s a sign of being in submission to God’s order.”

Why should the woman be covered? This is what Paul brings out …because of the angels. Now that’s unusual, isn’t it? Yet farther along in the passage, Paul says that it’s uncomely that a woman pray to God with her head uncovered and that even nature teaches us that a man should not have long hair. If the man has long hair it’s a shame but if a woman have long hair, it’s a glory unto her. Long hair is a glory for a woman …for her hair is given her for a covering. Now it’s not the artificial covering that Paul was talking about in earlier verses of chapter 11.

But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God. [1 Cor. 11:16]

Again, that’s an unfortunate rending because it actually reads:

16If anybody is disposed to be argumentative about this, I want you to know that the churches don’t have any other custom other than this — that a woman’s head should be covered when she prays or prophesies in the church. [1 Cor. 11:16]

On the other hand, a man’s head should be uncovered. A man should have short hair. He should look like a man and a woman should have long hair — she should look like a woman. The point here is pointing out what Paul said about the angels. A woman’s head should be covered …because of the angels. The angel of the Lord went out by night and smote the army of the Assyrians, leaving 185,000 soldiers dead. Punishment of the wicked as the Assyrians gathered themselves against Judah to bring death and destruction, and God destroyed them instead.

Another interesting passage is found in Acts, chapter 12. In this instance, angels were used as divine instruments to smite the wicked.

21And upon a set day Herod (now this is the king), arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them. (This must have been quite a speech because look at what the people said.) 22And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man. 23And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost. [Acts 12:21-23]

Josephus, the Jewish historian, brings out some points about this event. According to Josephus, this occurred during a time of some of the Roman games. The Romans literally lived for their gatherings in their coliseums where these games took place. Great multitudes gathered for these events. The account tells that Herod arrived, decked out in array the likes of which had never been seen before, with silver embedded in all his clothing.

When the sun shone on him, there was a glow all over him. When Herod spoke the people said, “We thought he was a man, but he’s a god to speak like that.” Herod was one of the most wicked men who ever lived, yet he spoke with such opulence that the people thought he was a god. “He’s more than man — he’s a god!” Because he received all this worship and adulation, God smote him. God sent an angel and struck him dead. Josephus said that Herod was stricken with tremendous pains in his abdomen and had to be carried out of the coliseum. He writhed in pain for days before he finally died. Here’s an example of an angel of God being sent as an instrument to punish the wicked.

Another scriptural passage relates that God will use the angels in the last days to sever the wicked from the just.

49So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, 50And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. [Matt. 13:49-50]

The angels will gather the people, separating the wheat from the tares, the sheep from the goats, the just from the unjust. The just will receive their due reward and the unjust will be cast into the lake of fire.

6. The angels accompany the righteous in their transition from this world into the next.

Most are familiar with the passage about the rich man and the poor man. The rich man died and woke up in torment but the poor man, who was a righteous man….

And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom…. [Lk. 16:22]

The angels accompany the righteous as they make the transition at death from this life into the next life. The angels come for the believer, accompanying him into glory.

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