We’re still talking angels.
First episode we talked about: Scriptural occurrences, Key terms, Creation.
Last time we talked about:
Characteristics: Personal, emotive, express will, etc; Moral responsibility, don’t procreate, etc.
Appearances of angels:
In visions, seens as non-human creatures (e.g., Isa. 6, Ezek. 1).
When they appear, they appear in human form (always male).
Morality: ElectFallen angels; bound /unbound.
Hierarchy: Cherubim, Serephim, Archangels (Michael, potentially Gabriel).
Showed the other terms/categories the bibles speaks of angels:
i.e., Thrones, dominions, rulers, authorities, etc.
There’s spiritual beings which sit behind the various powers in the physical realm.
We’ll get more into this, today.
A Survey of the ministries of holy angels:
In reference to creation:
Job 38:4-7 "Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding, Who set its measurements? Since you know. Or who stretched the line on it? "On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone, When the morning stars sang together And all the sons of God shouted for joy?”
Quite simply, their role was to praise.
Evidently God surrounded himself with a class of creature, whose singular purpose was to shout praise as the would watch His creative activity.
This also indicates the angels may have been one of the first creations.
Also an indication for the reason behind creation. His goal has always been the worship of his name. Here, we seem Him being worship for His creative nature.
In reference to the Fall:
Gen. 3:24 - “So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.”
In reference to Israel:
We seem present, appearing to Moses by the oaks of Mamre. (Gen. 8:1-3)
We won’t read the passage, but here’s an example of an “appearance.” There’s three men, but very clearly understood to be angels. Yet, they appear as men.
Likely a Christophany (based on John 1:18).
At the giving of the Mosaic Law:
Acts 7:53 - (Stephen speaking to the Jews) - “you who received the law as ordained by angels, and yet did not keep it.”
On the international scene:
We won’t read it, but it’s a fascinating revelation on how angels are involved with what happens to entire nations. We’ll talk on some of this in the section on Satanology.
In reference to Christ:
They predicted His birth (Matt. 1:2-21; Lk. 1:26-35).
They announced His birth (Lk. 2:9-12).
The protected him as an infant (Matt 2:13).
They ministered to Him after the temptation (Matt. 4:11).
They obeyed Him at all times (Matt. 26:53).
They strengthened Him in Gethsemane (Lk. 22:43).
They removed the stone from the tomb (Matt. 28:2).
They announced His resurrection (Matt. 28:6).
They attended the ascension and predicted His return (Acts. 1:10-11).
They will accompany Him at His return (Matt. 25:31; 2Thess. 1:7).
They will forever worship and praise Him (Rev. 5:11-12).
In reference to the prophets and apostles:
They frequently brought revelation (Dan 4:13-17; 9:21-23).
Rev. 1:1 - “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John…”
They answered prayers:
Daniel prays to God in 9:4.
We, then, see the angel Gabriel coming to him while he’s still praying (9:20).
They aided, encouraged, and delivered in times of danger (Acts 5:19; 8:26; 27:23-24).
In reference to believers:
They rejoice at the conversion of sinners (Lk. 15:10).
They are involved in a general ministry of service (Heb. 1:14).
They may be involved in conducting the Spirit to its eternal home (Lk 16:22).
This is a parable, so we need to be careful in drawing too much theology.
They observe Christian experiences:
1 Cor. 4:9 - “For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men.”
They gather the elect at the inauguration of the Millennium:
Matt. 24:31 - "And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.”
In reference to unbelievers:
They sometimes announced impending judgment (Gen. 19:1 w/ 19:13).
Gen. 19:1- “Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening as Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground.”
Gen. 19:13 - for we are about to destroy this place, because their outcry has become so great before the LORD that the LORD has sent us to destroy it."
They sometimes inflicted judgment:
Gen. 19 - The angels strike the men with blindness.
Acts 12:23 - “And immediately an angel of the Lord struck him because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and died.”
They will carry out most of the Tribulation judgments (Rev. 8, 9, 10).
They will act as reapers at the end of the age (Matt. 13:39-40, 49-50).
Matt. 13:39-40 “and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels. So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age.”
In reference to evil angels:
They prevent them from defeating god’s purposes with the nations (Dan. 10-11).
They will defeat them in the middle of the Tribulation (Rev. 12).
They will imprison Satan for 1000 years (Rev. 20:1-3).
God undoubtedly uses angels much more extensively than we probably tend to think. They’re a very present (and real) part of creation.
Problems and Issues, regarding angels in the Bible:
Did than angel trouble the water in John 5?
John 5:3b-4 is probably an interpolation (this requires an understanding of textual criticism). *The NASB has brackets* Likely not original.
Likely it was a comment crept in by the copyist to clarify the contemporary understanding of what was going on at the pool.
Suffice it to say, there were eatern superstitions about the powers of bubbling waters.
John 5:4 obviously reflected the belief of the afflicted man. In v. 7, the man makes an explicit statement that reveals this was the current understanding of the day.
Having said that, the passage should not be regarded as theology didactic or normative.
What about individual guardian angels?
“What of the concept of guardian angels, the idea that each person or at least each believer has a specific angel assigned to care for him and to accompany him in his life? The idea was part of popular [common] Jewish belief at the time of Christ and has carried over in some Christian thinking. Two biblical texts are cited as evidence of guardian angels. Upon calling a child and placing him in the midst of the disciples, Jesus said: ‘See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven’ (Matt. 18:10). When the maid Rhoda told the others in the house that Peter was at the gate, they said, ‘It is his angel!’ (Acts 12:15) These verses seem to indicate that angels are specially assigned to individuals.” (Erickson, Christian Theology, p. 445).
So only two verses, and both are narrative.
There seems to be an implicit understanding that guardian angels exist in some form.
“The Most specific statement about the duties of angels is found in Matthew 18:10… Jesus is here commending the guardian care of god, but he does it in terms of a providential function, whether the little ones (mikroi) are understood figuratively or as children. It is difficult to believe that Jesus would have spoken in these terms had he considered that angels were non-existent (Guthrie, NT Theology, p. 124).”
So it’s hard to know for certain, but it does seem to indicate, yes, in some way.
The ‘little ones’ in Matt. 18:10 has a very clear referent. It’s speaking of heaven-bound children of God. The entire context is in reference to Jesus’ disciples in the kingdom of God. In other words, it’s not about people in general, but God’s people.
We can’t necessarily infer that every believer has an angel assigned to them.
It may be that angels are assigned to guard all of God’s people in a general sense.
On the other hand, it may indicate that each believer has a guardian angel.
We just don’t know. There’s not a lot of clarity.
What we can conclude is that Christians are protected by angels in some way, and that they’re God’s means for carrying out God's providential protection of His people.
Does angelic ministry continue today?
Based on the previous evidence, we can rightly assume, yes.
Hebrews 1:14 is rather clear.
“Are they [angels] not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?”
“Ministering” is a present tense participle.
Shows a present/ongoing/continuous action.
So, we have no reason to rightly conclude their ministries have ceased in any capacity.
They’re yet one more aspect of God’s creation that He expects to faithful carry out their God-given tasks as a form of worship.
So that’s angels.
Next time we’ll jump into Satanology, and then follow it up with demonology.