Today we are going to learn from the Bible about ‘angels’!
Though interestingly angels are never a focus the very word conjures up for us “an incredibly pure, childlike, able to fly around - companion of God in heaven” picture.
But angels are not a fantasy or a figment of imagination !
Today let us decide to imitate the angels in the relationship they have with God!
1. The Credentials
- Angels are created by God and Christ.
You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.
For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.
- Angels worship God and Christ
And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, "Let all God's angels worship him."
- Angels are ministering spirits
The chariots of God are tens of thousands and thousands of thousands; the Lord has come from Sinai into his sanctuary.
Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?
- Angels communicate the will of God (as you see them appearing before many prophets, apostles)
The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John,
- Angels obey the will of God
Praise the LORD, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word.
- Angels execute the purpose of God
Praise the LORD, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will.
- But Angels are not to be worshipped
At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, "Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."
But he said to me, "Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers the prophets and of all who keep the words of this book. Worship God!"
The term angel is derived from the Greek word angelos which means “messenger”.
In general when we see angels in the Bible, his task is to convey the message or do the will of God who sent him.
Since the focus on every text is the message, the messenger is rarely described in detail. But there are references of angels being part of the “holy” encourage of God.
They are called “sons of God”, “holy ones”, heavenly host” and these angels are generally worshipping God, attend God’s throne or comprise God’s army.
A third type as we call it are the winged angels Cherubim and Seraphim who appear in visions of Ezekiel.
4 I looked, and I saw a windstorm coming out of the north--an immense cloud with flashing lightning and surrounded by brilliant light. The center of the fire looked like glowing metal,
5 and in the fire was what looked like four living creatures. In appearance their form was that of a man,
6 but each of them had four faces and four wings.
7 Their legs were straight; their feet were like those of a calf and gleamed like burnished bronze.
8 Under their wings on their four sides they had the hands of a man. All four of them had faces and wings,
9 and their wings touched one another. Each one went straight ahead; they did not turn as they moved.
10 Their faces looked like this: Each of the four had the face of a man, and on the right side each had the face of a lion, and on the left the face of an ox; each also had the face of an eagle.
11 Such were their faces. Their wings were spread out upward; each had two wings, one touching the wing of another creature on either side, and two wings covering its body.
12 Each one went straight ahead. Wherever the spirit would go, they would go, without turning as they went.
13 The appearance of the living creatures was like burning coals of fire or like torches. Fire moved back and forth among the creatures; it was bright, and lightning flashed out of it.
14 The creatures sped back and forth like flashes of lightning.
15 As I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel on the ground beside each creature with its four faces.
16 This was the appearance and structure of the wheels: They sparkled like chrysolite, and all four looked alike. Each appeared to be made like a wheel intersecting a wheel.
17 As they moved, they would go in any one of the four directions the creatures faced; the wheels did not turn about as the creatures went.
18 Their rims were high and awesome, and all four rims were full of eyes all around.
19 When the living creatures moved, the wheels beside them moved; and when the living creatures rose from the ground, the wheels also rose.
20 Wherever the spirit would go, they would go, and the wheels would rise along with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.
21 When the creatures moved, they also moved; when the creatures stood still, they also stood still; and when the creatures rose from the ground, the wheels rose along with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.
22 Spread out above the heads of the living creatures was what looked like an expanse, sparkling like ice, and awesome.
23 Under the expanse their wings were stretched out one toward the other, and each had two wings covering its body.
24 When the creatures moved, I heard the sound of their wings, like the roar of rushing waters, like the voice of the Almighty, like the tumult of an army. When they stood still, they lowered their wings.
25 Then there came a voice from above the expanse over their heads as they stood with lowered wings.
26 Above the expanse over their heads was what looked like a throne of sapphire, and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man.
27 I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him.
28 Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking.
3 Now the cherubim were standing on the south side of the temple when the man went in, and a cloud filled the inner court.
4 Then the glory of the LORD rose from above the cherubim and moved to the threshold of the temple. The cloud filled the temple, and the court was full of the radiance of the glory of the LORD.
5 The sound of the wings of the cherubim could be heard as far away as the outer court, like the voice of God Almighty when he speaks.
6 When the LORD commanded the man in linen, "Take fire from among the wheels, from among the cherubim," the man went in and stood beside a wheel.
7 Then one of the cherubim reached out his hand to the fire that was among them. He took up some of it and put it into the hands of the man in linen, who took it and went out.
8 (Under the wings of the cherubim could be seen what looked like the hands of a man.)
9 I looked, and I saw beside the cherubim four wheels, one beside each of the cherubim; the wheels sparkled like chrysolite.
10 As for their appearance, the four of them looked alike; each was like a wheel intersecting a wheel.
11 As they moved, they would go in any one of the four directions the cherubim faced; the wheels did not turn about as the cherubim went. The cherubim went in whatever direction the head faced, without turning as they went.
12 Their entire bodies, including their backs, their hands and their wings, were completely full of eyes, as were their four wheels.
13 I heard the wheels being called "the whirling wheels."
14 Each of the cherubim had four faces: One face was that of a cherub, the second the face of a man, the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle.
15 Then the cherubim rose upward. These were the living creatures I had seen by the Kebar River.
16 When the cherubim moved, the wheels beside them moved; and when the cherubim spread their wings to rise from the ground, the wheels did not leave their side.
17 When the cherubim stood still, they also stood still; and when the cherubim rose, they rose with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in them.
18 Then the glory of the LORD departed from over the threshold of the temple and stopped above the cherubim.
19 While I watched, the cherubim spread their wings and rose from the ground, and as they went, the wheels went with them. They stopped at the entrance to the east gate of the Lord's house, and the glory of the God of Israel was above them.
20 These were the living creatures I had seen beneath the God of Israel by the Kebar River, and I realized that they were cherubim.
21 Each had four faces and four wings, and under their wings was what looked like the hands of a man.
22 Their faces had the same appearance as those I had seen by the Kebar River. Each one went straight ahead.
2 Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying.
3 And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory."
4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
5 "Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty."
6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar.
Cherubim function primarily as guards or attend to the divine throne and Seraphim who appears to Isaiah attend God’s throne and voice praises.
But all angels present us with heavenly beings in the service of God.
2. The Character
The angels are examples of humility and meekness as can be seen in the way they handled two situations.
2 Peter 2:11
yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not bring slanderous accusations against such beings in the presence of the Lord.
But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!"
The angels are said to be wise
2 Samuel 14:20
Your servant Joab did this to change the present situation. My lord has wisdom like that of an angel of God--he knows everything that happens in the land."
They are also mighty as the Psalmist describes.
Praise the LORD, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word.
They are holy
"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory.
They are chosen or the elect
1 Timothy 5:21
I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism.
They are obedient
"If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written: "'He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'"
They are immortal
and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God's children, since they are children of the resurrection.
They are extremely reliable because God uses them in crunch situations!
But unfortunately not all angels were as great and so we see instances of angels falling away from God.
Angels probably face temptations too and that perhaps explains the fallen angels!
Of the cause and the manner of their fall we are totally ignorant but we do know that “they left their first estate” (Matthew 25:41) and that they are “reserved for judgement”
2 Peter 2:4
For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment;
Jesus’ comment in Matthew 18:10 and some passages which assign protective roles to angels (for example, Michael, prince of Israel, Daniel 12:1 and Hebrews 1:14) imply that a heavenly counterpart represents each person in heaven.
"At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people--everyone whose name is found written in the book--will be delivered.
Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?
The term guardian angel is never mentioned in the Bible and it is more implied through these passages! Jesus in the reference of Matthew mentions that certain angels are assigned to watch over children and they have direct access to God!
That should encourage and give security that God cares through his angels.
3. The Charge
All great men and women in the Bible were led by the angels even as they sought God! Angels always masquerade as normal people and are not easily recognised.
1 Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, so the LORD delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years.
2 A certain man of Zorah, named Manoah, from the clan of the Danites, had a wife who was sterile and remained childless.
3 The angel of the LORD appeared to her and said, "You are sterile and childless, but you are going to conceive and have a son.
4 Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean,
5 because you will conceive and give birth to a son. No razor may be used on his head, because the boy is to be a Nazirite, set apart to God from birth, and he will begin the deliverance of Israel from the hands of the Philistines."
6 Then the woman went to her husband and told him, "A man of God came to me. He looked like an angel of God, very awesome. I didn't ask him where he came from, and he didn't tell me his name.
7 But he said to me, 'You will conceive and give birth to a son. Now then, drink no wine or other fermented drink and do not eat anything unclean, because the boy will be a Nazirite of God from birth until the day of his death.'"
8 Then Manoah prayed to the LORD: "O Lord, I beg you, let the man of God you sent to us come again to teach us how to bring up the boy who is to be born."
9 God heard Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman while she was out in the field; but her husband Manoah was not with her.
10 The woman hurried to tell her husband, "He's here! The man who appeared to me the other day!"
11 Manoah got up and followed his wife. When he came to the man, he said, "Are you the one who talked to my wife?" "I am," he said.
12 So Manoah asked him, "When your words are fulfilled, what is to be the rule for the boy's life and work?"
13 The angel of the LORD answered, "Your wife must do all that I have told her.
14 She must not eat anything that comes from the grapevine, nor drink any wine or other fermented drink nor eat anything unclean. She must do everything I have commanded her."
15 Manoah said to the angel of the LORD, "We would like you to stay until we prepare a young goat for you."
16 The angel of the LORD replied, "Even though you detain me, I will not eat any of your food. But if you prepare a burnt offering, offer it to the LORD." (Manoah did not realize that it was the angel of the LORD.)
17 Then Manoah inquired of the angel of the LORD, "What is your name, so that we may honor you when your word comes true?"
18 He replied, "Why do you ask my name? It is beyond understanding."
19 Then Manoah took a young goat, together with the grain offering, and sacrificed it on a rock to the LORD. And the LORD did an amazing thing while Manoah and his wife watched:
20 As the flame blazed up from the altar toward heaven, the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame. Seeing this, Manoah and his wife fell with their faces to the ground.
21 When the angel of the LORD did not show himself again to Manoah and his wife, Manoah realized that it was the angel of the LORD.
22 "We are doomed to die!" he said to his wife. "We have seen God!"
23 But his wife answered, "If the LORD had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and grain offering from our hands, nor shown us all these things or now told us this."
24 The woman gave birth to a boy and named him Samson. He grew and the LORD blessed him,
25 and the Spirit of the LORD began to stir him while he was in Mahaneh Dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.
Manoah (the father of Samson) was a righteous man. He believed his wife and his only question was in v-8 “Let the man of God you sent to us come again to teach us how to bring up the boy who is to be born?”
His wife was sterile and childless and it looked an impossible situation – yet he believes in the message from the angel!
Not once did he doubt and it’s incredible in v9 God heard Manoah!
How often has it happened in the Bible when God heard the prayer of a righteous man!
How is your walk with God? Manoah had an incredible relationship with God that he could be led by the angels!
Today if an angel were to visit you would you recognise the angel?
Can you be as easily led? Angelic deeds and visions require an incredible faith that comes from a constant walk with God!
Even as we are enamoured and perhaps in awe of the angels the Bible emphasises (unlike the false prophets) that they cannot be worshipped!
As we grow in our christian faith, let God’s word be our guide!
Write down a small article on what the angels mean to you and how you are going to be led by the angels!