ANGELS ARE FOR REAL
There was a time when angels were relegated to Christmas cards. But not anymore. Angels have infiltrated the popular culture and interest in angels has soared across the country and the world.
Prominent magazines are running feature stories on angels and the topic of angels continues to be popular with TV shows and specials. People magazine 12/23/96 featured cover story was titled ďTouched By AngelsĒ as ordinary people tell their personal stories of what they perceived were encounters with angels.
Today, there are angel newsletters and magazines, angel seminars and college level courses, angel T-shirts, calendars, postcards, sunglasses, jewelry, Broadway plays and movies such as Michael with john Travolta. In 1993 five of the top ten best selling paperback books were about angels.
Why is there such an interest in angels? Here are some reasons from the popular angel literature in our bookstores and on our TVís:
1.††† One reason is angels offer a spirituality that does not involve commitment to god or his laws. While God may seem punitive and judgmental,to many, angels never are. They seem utterly compassionate and as Time magazine noted Ďfor those who choke too easily on God and his rules.. .angels are a handy compromise, all fluff and meringue, kind and nonjudgmental available to everyone like aspirin.Ē
2.††† The belief that angels bring meaning and purpose into our lives. They make life worth living we are told. They help out with romance, finances, health... .help extinguish worries that plague our lives. Angels in a sense are heaven sent agents always available to help you create heaven in your life. 4
3.††† Angels are here to help us with the passage into an unknown new millennium and will protect us if all else fails. With the end of a century approaching and the difficulties associated with this time of transition there is a fresh possibility for higher consciousness around the world. Angels are here to help with this transition and usher in. these new realities.
4.††† Angels help us cope .with:d~ath.~ Encountering angels we gain the experimental assurance that we too have a heavenly home. Angels have supposedly shown some authors that there is no need to fear death because of this assurance.
5.††† The popularity of angels is a reaction against the excesses of materialism in western culture. We have wearied of the impersonal and self serving ends of the materialism of the 80ís and spiritually starved and hungry for some hope people are searching for deeper spirituality. Angels fill this vacuum.
GODíS SECRET AGENTS
We may not think about the work and activity of angels often, but the Bible reveals that the work of angels is active even today. Angels serve as agents and instruments of God in a multi-faceted responsibilty. The purpose of this lesson is to understand the work of good angels in the world on behalf of God. We will learn how they serve God the Father, Jesus Christ and the world.
We call them secret agents because we are rarely aware of their activity (Heb. 13:1) as agents of Godís work in the spiritual world as well as our own. Their work includes several things from history; includes many things in the present; and will involve much in the future. We will look at this past, present and future work to comprehend the extent of their work as
SECRET AGENTS of God.
1.††† ANGELS SERVED AS MEDIATORS OF GODíS LAW GALATTANS 3:19
The Law Moses received at Mt. Sanai which includes the ten commandments was delivered to him by angels. God used angels as meidators to communicate to him the Law of God to the nation of Israel Gal. 3:19. The Jews even regarded this Law as ordained by angels even though they failed to keep it Acts 7:38, 52-53. The words of the Law are regarded as spoken through angels to Moses Heb. 2:2. It may even mean that God used angels to engrave the first and second editions of the tablets. The high regard for angels by the Jews may explain why the writer of Heb.1-2 shows the superiority of Christ to angels and His replacing of the Mosaic Law Matt. 5:17-18; John 1:17.
The Jewish religious establishment believed that people were made right before God by observing the Law and the traditions derived from law-keeping. Yet, the Law was given (1) to restrain sin by showing how sinful man was; (2) as a temporary measure until the Messiah would come; and (3) inferior to faith because God personally made promises to Abraham and the Patriarchs that required faith in God while the Law was established by two mediators, angels to Moses and Moses to the people of Israel. Faith has always been the basis of relationship with God.
ANGELS ARE FOR REAL
Popular methods of contacting angels include channeling, prayer, meditation, visualization, crystals, writing letters and color coordinating ones wardrobe. And if you are successful in making an angelic contact they may appear as animals and humans, male or female, visions or voices and with wings or without. Regardless of what form the angelic appearance may take the messages from angels are always said to be very positive. The main lesson angels have for us seem to be that we are love, we are God on earth and it is time to love ourselves and open our hearts.
The benefits of these contacts we are told are spiritual guidance so we can grow into what we were always intended to be. Attainment of goals as we make declarations to angels who will help us bring about what we desire in life. .an angel assisted name it and claim it. Brí~n program editors ~~(e angels can help our emotional and psychological state as tiny angels of lite have access to cells and neurotransmitters to transform our negative beliefs to positive ones. Coniforters as they function as a cheering squad for our higher selves. .little voices inside us that say Ďdont give up, we like who you are, everythingsí going to be okay, we are proud of you. Copilots who if ever need them to take over are ready and capable. Invisible secretaries arranging your day so trips, appointments, events, deadlines are orchestrated thruout the day for you.
What should be of concern to the nan is that all of this angelic phenomenon is that people have found a new sense of the transcendent by relating not to God but to Godís angels---not to their creator but to the creatorís celestial or heavenly creatures. Sensing a need for a higher being people have turned to angels instead of god. We will explore why this is the case when we look at the topic ďSatan:One Bad Angel.Ē What does the Bible tell us about angels~ Angels are referred to in 34 of the 66 books of the Bible. We will begin our series on angels as we answer the question ďAre angels for real?Ē
1.††† THE EXISTENCE OF ANGELS IS REVEALED THROUGHOUT THE BIBLE.
Angels are an integral part of the story of Godís dealings with men. Abraham talked with angels as he ate and Lot was delivered by them. Jacob dreamed of angels ascending and descending upon a ladder to heaven. An angel led Moses and the Israelites thru the wilderness journeys Ex 23. Angels intervened in Daniels fiery furnace and stopped the mouths of lions. Angels announced the birth of Christ and were at his empty tomb. Angels delivered peter from prison and Paul regards Stan as a xians angelic opponent who can be overcome by Christ. Revelation references angels as agents of Godís judgment in the last days. Jesus
ANGELS ARE FOR REAL
was tempted by Satan. He predicted that angels would gather his people in the end. He also said to Peter in MT 26 he could have the help of 12 legions of angels if desired. he told hid disciples they failed to cast out a demon because of their lack of faith and prayer 1k 9. Jesus cast out demons. the Old and New testament and the life and ministry of Jesus attests to the existence of angels.
We must not regard angels as mere myth, illusions or fantasy. They were recognized as angels with supernatural abilities. If we reject the existence of angels then we have to say that the miraculous deliverance s and interventions are not true and the Bible is unreliable. If we reject the existence of angels then Moses, Jesus and Paul are lunatics, liars.
2.† ANGELS WERE CREATED BY GOD.
Angels are the only other moral, spiritual, eternal creatures besides us (that we know of) in the universe. They were created by god before He created humans and the material universe Job 38:6-7 Ď...when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of god shouted for joy.í So the angels were there to witness the formation of our world and since there is no procreation among angels MT 22;30 they were all created at once in a sweeping creative act. God instantly commanded and an innumerable company of angels heb 12:22 came into existence each one independently unique. They do not reproduce so there can never be any increase in the number.. .they do not die so theres no decrease.
Angels are spirits while humans are spirit body and both are created beings with no claim to deity.
3.††† ANGELS ARE NOT TO BE WORSHIPPED OR ADORED.
Angels are not demigods and do not possess the attributes of deity.. .not the 3 omnis. They have not always existed neh 9:6 col 1;16 Ďby Christ 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.í Neh 9:6 Ď...the host of heaven worships you.í Indicates that angels were designed like all of us to worship God not to receive worship themselves. Whenever angels are offered any form of worship in the Bible they always rebuke the worshipper and redirect all worship to God alone rev 19:10 Jon falls to his knees and the angel tells him not to do this.
Todays preoccupation with the adoration of angels and submissiveness to them is not what we are to do. Angels are servants of God not themselves.
ANGELS ARE FOR REAL
4.††† ANGELS ARE SPIRIT BEINGS WHO POSSESS INTELLIGENCE, EMOTION AND WILL.
Their have intelligence because they desire to learn of our Salvation in Christ iPt 1:12 and their ability to communicate on several occasions. They have emotions because they respond to gods wonderful creation with joy job 38:7. They have will because they choose to worship the son heb 1:6 and a third of the angels chose to rebel against God isa 14, mt 25:41. Angels then were made in Godís image just as humans were. An image stamped with personality
Angels are not ghosts or will o the wisps, phantoms or extra terristerals. They are intelligent, emotional and volitional beings existing in spirit form who are normally invisible, do have the ability to appear on occasion and when doing so appeared in the form of men.
5.††† ANGELS ARE POWERFUL BEINGS BUT NOT ALL POWERFUL.
Angels performed miracles Gen. 19, killed 185000 warriors 2 Kgs 19, are mighty in strength psa 103:20, can travel at tremendous speed Dan 10, will go into all the world and gather gods people MT 24, rolled back the stone of Jesus tomb MT 28, instruments of gods judgments on the earth 2 thess 1:7 and are magnificent powerful beings rev 10:1. They are much more powerful than we are and are capable of supernatural feats in association with gods will and purpose for them. They are not equal in power and authority to God. Their power is a derived power. Their power and authority are different. Some are very powerful like the archangel Michael jude 9 and some are less powerful Dan 10..
6. ANGELS SERVE AS MESSENGERS
fi Vi~i ~ ~ p
~A 5íAI ∑ ∑.6 A
The basic meaning of angel is Ďmessengerí. Whenever angels do appear to people it is in the role of a messenger and this is the primary meaning of the word Ďangelí. so the angels provide a sort of heavenly messenger service like the message to Mary in 1k 1~í When an angel appeared it often caused trauma and great fear unlike the popular descriptions today. Mary was greatly troubled, the shepherdess were very frightened, the roman soldiers guarding Jesus tomb shook with fear and became as dead men.
Much of the contemporary romance with angels sees them as somewhat independent, if not totally autonomous, but a messenger is on a mission form someone higher and in this case from God or in case of bad angels from Satan.
ANGELS ARE FOR REAL
They can give messages from God acts 10 but not new revelations that contradict Godís word Ps 103: Angels act to carry out only Godís commands. Not a single verse that portrays angels acting independently from God unless Satan or demons doing his bidding.
7.††† ANGELS ARE ORGANIZED IN A DIVINELY ORDERED CHAIN OF COMMAND.
They are referred to as principalities and powers who dwell and rule in heavenly places eph 6. We are not told precisely what this hierarchy is but Christ is set far above them in authority as the c~ator eph 1. So there rank is one of being under God 1 pt 3:22, higher than man spa 8. Michael is called the archangel Dan 12. Gabriel seems to be a special and important messenger of God Dan 10. Angels are found in the third heaven where god dwells, the second heaven traversing the universe, first heaven even intervening from time to time in human affairs. Two types of angels are the cherubim who seem to be involved in guarding things--the policeman type Gen. 3 and the seraphim more involved in worship--the priest types isa 6 to God.
So it seems that the arrangement of rank, order and titles exists in the angelic network as a means by which they are used as Godís messengers in1he outworking of his purposes.
8.††† NOT ALL ANGEL BEINGS ARE GOOD.
There is a prior assumption that angels are only good and therefore contacting them is also only good. Satan was created the highest and most beautiful angel ez-. 28 but aspired to usurp gods very throne and authority isa 14 and was cast from his position and sealed his fate. When he fell he took a third of the angels with him rev 12. His purpose now is to lead this army of evil spirits, demons, to defeat god, good angels and xians by perverting truth and righteousness MT 4, jn 8, eph 6. 2 Cor 11:14 we are warned that he masquerades as an angel of lite mimicking gods holy angels for sinister purposes 1 Tim 4:1-3. Gal 1:6-8 warns against accepting any other teaching from an angel that goes against the Word of God. Mormonism was founded by Joseph Smith who said an angel named moroni led him to the golden plates containing the book of Mormon. Muhammad claimed to receive revelations contained in the Qurían directly from the angel Gabriel an impostor. Both Satan and Demons blind the minds of people to spiritual truth 2 cor 4:4.
ANGELS ARE FOR REAL
Today the tendency to accept every revelation and spiritual experiences as a reliable source of truth without discernment plays into the hands of the evil demons network bent on deceiving people from the truth. In scripture we never find Gods people attempting to make contact with an angel by channeling or other means. Angels typically show up unexpectedly and startle people. Never by prompting or conjuring through someone elseís summons and if so likely a counterfeit.
SATAN:ONE BAD ANGEL
There are two extremes we must avoid when it comes to discussing the existence of Satan. We must avoid overestimating his activity. Some people can see a demon behind every human disorder from alcoholism to cancer. They tend to view people as victims of satanic activity needing deliverance. They actually ignore the sinful patterns of behavior that people get involved in through temptation, desire and disobedience James 1:1-12. Satan may play the role of tempter through his demonic spiritual underworld supporting, encouraging and deceiving behavior and lifestyles contrary to Godís way but we are still responsible to cave into and cooperate with these plans.
The other extreme is to underestimate the activity of Satan. The idea that Satan exists has always been ridiculed by a disbelieving society. Personifying Satan with horns and pitchforks has perpetuated this image. The tendency is to just roll along in life completely unaware of the effect he and his demonic network are having on our lives, our society, culture, country and world.
The fact is, Christianity faces stiff opposition. Righteousness, spiritual growth and devotion to Jesus Christ do not happen effortlessly. A large part of the competition comes from without from what we call the world system of things. A system that the Bible says wants to bend us to itís way of thinking. Another dimension of this competition with righteousness comes from within us. Our old nature is enticed by lustful, selfish and proud desires which provoke us to get what we want instead of remaining in submission to God. One final dimension of competition with righteous living is from a person the Bible calls Satan. Righteous living and devotion to Jesus Christ can be frustrated since he competes against that which honors God.
1. SATAN WAS CREATED AS THE HIGHEST AND MOST BEAUTIFUL ANGEL EZEKIEL 28:11-16
He is described as a celebrated angelic creature of the highest ranking in heaven. He is very powerful but not all-powerful (Omnipotent) (Jn. l2:31; Eph 2:2; Jude 9) where even Michael had to call upon God to rebuke Satan. He is also described as very beautiful in the passage. He has no red skin, horns or pitchfork. He was created perfect and as a cherub was a guardian of the
glory of God Exe 28:14. Both the Old and New Testaments regard Satan as a real person with intellect 2 Cor 11:3 where he looks like an angel of light and seems to be good. With †emotion in Job 1:8-9 where he is jealous of Job and will in Rev 20 where he leads a rebellion against God.† The Bible does not view Satan as some impersonal kind of force but is clear that He exhibits personality (Intellect, Emotion, Volition). Even though powerful, highly mobile and very clever he is not equal with God in any way. We are no match for Satan and Satan is no match for God. Satan is a spiritual being but he is not sovereign. He is only one person capable of being one place at a time.
2.†††† SATAN LOST HIS PROMINENT POSITION BEFORE GOD BECAUSE OF HIS PRIDE †††††ISAIAH 14:12-20.
There were five things Satan wanted in vss 13-14. †(1) He wanted to take Godís position of authority. (2) He wanted to rule over the angelic creation. (3) He wanted to rule over the earth.† (4) He wanted to displace God and be recognized as the Sovereign of the universe. (5) He wanted to be God. Consumed with pride, he rebelled against God, seduced a third of the angels to follow him (Rev. 12:4) and his treachery brought condemnation by God (Ezek 28:16) for all of the rebelling angels. It was their choice and self interests that motivated this rebellion. The point seems to be that selfishness and discontent as well as envy and jealousy with its craving to get what rightfully belongs to someone else is the sin of Satan (1 Tim 3:6). This is a sin that we all too often mimic in our own lives.
We learn that Satan is officially expelled from his prominent position before God as well as the numerous angels who had followed him. This was his first fall. His second fall will be during the time of tribulation in the world when he is denied any further access into Heaven before the throne of God (Rev. 12:9; Eze. 28:15). His third and final fall (maybe this is where three strikes and your out started) will be in the end when he will be cast into the lake of fire forever (Matt 25:41; Rev 20:10). In the meantime he has a thoroughly corrupted character (1 Jn 5:18) called evil one by his very nature. Evil originated out of the heart of Satan. His free will was the cause of sin.
3.†††† SATAN LEADS AN ARMY OF EVIL SPIRITS TO DEFEAT GOD, GOOD ANGELS AND BELIEVERS BY PERVERTING TRUTH AND RIGHTEOUSNESS †††††EPHESIANS 6: 10-16
Satan actively opposes Godís interests everywhere (Matt 16:23). Jesus words in Jn 8:44 identify Satan as a murderer from the beginning, has no truth in him at all and is the father of liars. Paul describes Satan as a crafty opponent, a formidable enemy of every Christian Eph. 6:10-16. Every human being is born spiritually dead and is a member of the kingdom of darkness. Satanís strategy is to keep people from accepting Jesus Christ as Savior by blinding their minds to their spiritual need. Satan uses every means to steer people away from the truth in Christ.
A. For believers he also plays the role of the Tempter ( Matt 4:3; 1 Thess 3:5) where he urges us to decide not to remain in submission to God. When Satan tempted Jesus in Matt 4:1-11, Jesus was in submission to God the father. Satanís temptation was to try and get Christ to come out from under that submission, exert a contrary will and give credibility to Satanís authority. His role as tempter is also noted in Gen 3:1-7 where he tempted Eve with the idea that God is holding back on them. If they would eat of the tree they would become like God. Everyday it occurs. Moments of truth when we must chose a path between caving into temptation or remaining in submission to God. This is the first phase of his operation and he knows just where we are most vulnerable, careless and overwhelmed. His demonic underworld keeps abreast of our situation.
B. The second phase of his perversion of Godís truth is deception. †A liar is on the loose and we can sometimes find ourselves marveling at his ability to deceive us (2 Cor 4:4; Eph 6:12). Satan is out to destroy lives with the power of death (Heb 2:14). With this power he killed Jobís children (Job 1:12,18-19) and motivated Cain to murder Abe (l Jn 8:44; 1 Jn 3:12). He plants doubt (Gen 3:1-2) in our minds if it hinders our walk with God. He provokes sin like anger since he can gain an advantage through it (Eph 4:26-27; pride 1 Tim 3:6) it motivates him; worry (Matt 13:22) he sows worry in our minds; self-reliance (1 Chr 21:1) where he provoked David to number his army; discouragement (1 Pt 5:6-7) where he seeks those he can devour; worldliness (1 Jn 2:16) where he is the energizing force who works through the flesh and world; lying (Acts 5:3) where lying is attributed to Satan.† The deception may include rationale like ďit will make you feel goodĒ, ďGod wonít mindĒ, ďthere will not be any consequencesĒ† ďyou only have one life to liveĒ. †Ever hear these tapes? He custom designs the temptation and deception. It can be made to sound so good and inviting and once you get into a cycle of indulgence it only increases the appetite to do it again, until you fall or fend him off.
C. The third phase of his strategy of perversion of truth is as Accuser (Rev 12:10; 2 Cor 2:11). He accuses believers before God. The sins of the Christian are observed by the fallen angels and reported. In effect, a dossier is being kept on each believer. He does this to try to hinder the work of God on earth. However, (1 Jn 2:lff) points out that Jesus Christ is our advocate with the Father and the Lord reminds the Father of what happened at the cross and makes note of the believerís faith and position in Christ. The consequences of a believerís failure, his restoration, and future usefulness are all urgent matters which Jesus takes up with the Father when sin occurs. This is illustrated by Jesusí prayer for Peter in Lk 22:31-32 where anticipating Peterís approaching denial of Him, Jesus asked the Father to prevent Peterís faith from collapsing.† Satanís accusations make it all the way to heaven and the discouragement, humiliation and despair they bring can cast us down. Satan does not want you to know that even the most wounded can be useful in advancing Godís Kingdom. Repentance brings forgiveness and restoration and reconciliation.
4.††† SATAN HAS A MULTI-FACETED STRATEGY TO ATTACK GODíS PROGRAM IN THE WORLD
He use his personal influence and demonic underworld to raise up false philosophies Col 1:28, false religions 1 Cor 10:19-20, False ministers 2 Cor 11:14-15, false teaching 1 Tim 4:1, false Christís 1 Jn 2:18, false disciples Mt 13:38-39 and false morals 2 Thess 2:7. He opposes Godís program by keeping believers from the Word of God by encouraging them to ignore it and accept false teaching so that they will revert to their former manner of life. He frustrates the will of God for us (James 4:7-8; Gal. 5:7) with what it is God wants us to do, to think or where God may even want us to be 1 Thess 2:18. He attempts to change the focus of the believer from Christ to self (Colossians 3:1), things (Heb 13:5-6), and people (Jer 17:5; 1 Kings 19:10). Religion is a main weapon of his (1 Tim. 1:7-8; 2 Tim. 4:1). He encourages believers to worry and neutralizes us (1 Pt 5:7-9). He also directs governments (Dan 10:13; Eph. 6:12) to do his bidding politically and economically. We must be on guard against his schemes Eph. 6:12 since we are targets of his aggression. Satan is the ruler of this world and we are just passing through temporarily. He rules in this arena where we live, work and raise our families.
5.†††† SATAN IS ALREADY DEFEATED AND LIMITED BY GOD AND BELIEVERS WHO TRUST IN GOD††
JAMES 4:7; 1 PET 5:8.
Satan was utterly defeated by the cross of Jesus Christ (Jn 12:31; Eph. 1:20-21; Phil 2:9-1) where at the name of Christ every knee shall bow, (Heb 2:14) Satan totally defeated and disarmed through Christís death. Satan is a defeated foe (1 Jn 4:4). We should never speak of Satan with contempt (Jude 8-9) but let God rebuke him. We should be on our guard (1 Pt 5:8) and use our armor (Eph 6:11-18) to ward him off. He can be resisted (James 4:7). Satan is destined for the lake of fire to be punished for ever (Rev 20:10) as well as his angels. Jesus defeated Satan at His temptation when he rejected Satanís attempts to subvert the Fatherís will. He defeated Him on the cross when he died for us. He also defeated Satan at His resurrection. The fact is our greatest enemies, Satan, sin and death, have been defeated and overcome by the person and work of Jesus Christ. We are free now to serve God.
1. Satan is not equal to God. He does not possess the attributes of God.
2. Satan focuses his attention on religion. He will do anything to divert people from the necessity of faith in God for salvation and for a godly life.
3. Satan does not make us do anything. We are carried away and enticed by our own lusts James 1. Satan can tempt us but is not responsible for our sin.
4. Satan is formidable but can be defeated. James tells us that we can resist the devil and he will flee from us. 1 John 4:4 ďGreater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.Ē
ANGELS:GODíS SECRET AGENTS
Jesus Christ has superceded the Law for us today. He went beyond the Law when He taught that adultery includes looking lustfully on a woman Matt. 5:28; murder includes burning anger toward another Matt. 5:22. This divine commentary was not delivered to us by angels but by Jesus Christ and is expected to be obeyed by His followers.
2.††† ANGELS EXECUTED THE JUDGMENT OF GOD GENESIS 19:13
Angels brought Godís judgment against the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah when they were destroyed by fire Gen. 19:2-3, 19-22. God used angels to bring the plagues on Egypt Psa.78:43,49 and sent destroying angels to execute the firstborn in Egypt at the passover Ex. 12:13, 23. The Lord used an angel to send a pestilence upon Israel and God had to say it is enough 2 Sam. 24:15-17. We also read of one angel killing 185,000 Assyrians in answer to King Hezekiahís prayer 2 Kgs 19:35. King Herod accepted the accolades of the people claiming he was like God and an angel struck him dead Acts 12:23.
An important part of angelsí responsibility is to carry out the judgment of God. This judgment includes detroying cities, bringing disease and plagues, taking peopleís lives from them, protecting His people in answer to prayer, and executing those who deceive people by claiming they are God. There is no reason to assume that this work of angels has stopped today. God still uses His angels to execute His judgments where they are needed. We may not see Godís secret agents behind His judgments, neither did the population of Sodom, or King Herod.
3.††† ANGELS SERVED AS AGENTS OF GOD IN ANSWER TO PRAYER DANIEL 10:12; Acts 12:7
In at least two instances we see angels responding to a situation in answer to someoneís prayer. During an intense period of mourning, fasting and praying for three weeks an angel appeared to Daniel in response to his praying for understanding about a vision he had received. The angel said he had come in response to Daniels prayers to god Dan. 10:12. In essence, God heard the prayers and the angel was sent to answer from God. In Acts 12:5-6 120 people were praying for Peterís release from prison. In response to their praying an angel miraculously rescued Peter from prison and Peter identified this rescuer as an angel sent from god to deliver him Acts 12:11.
ANGELS:GODíS SECRET AGENTS
God does use angels in response to praying. He may use them to answer our prayers too.
4.††† ANGELS SERVED AND PROTECTED JESUS
CHRIST DURING HIS LIFE AND MINISTRY ON
EARTH LUKE 4:13
The angel Gabriel was sent to predict the virgin birth of Christ to the virgin Mary, assuring her that this was Godís special intervention Lk. 1:26-28. Certain shepherds first heard the good news of the Saviorís birth from an angel Lk. 2:9 and to substantiate this message there suddenly appeared a multitude of holy angels praising God Lk. 2:8-15. When Christ was an infant an angel warned His parents to flee to Egypt to escape the wrath of King Herod Matt. 2:13-15 and later, an angel directed Joseph to return to Isarel after Herodís death Matt. 2:19-21. Angels came and served Christ after his ordeal with Satanís temptation Matt. 4:11. Angels strengthened Christ in the garden of gethsemane Lk. 22:43. Angels would have saved Him from the cross Matt. 27:40 if Christ had called them. Angel rolled away the stone from His tomb Matt. 28;1-2; announced His resurrection John 20:11-12; announced His ascension Acts 1:10-11; are subject to His rule 1 Pt.
This indicates that it is Jesus Christ who is the object of devotion and service of the angels. There is no record that angels were or are to be vererated, worshipped or adored by us. We can express our devotion and submission to Jesus Christ by obeying His Word to us. He alone is to be the object of our wor4~ip, just as He is the angelís.
5.††† ANGELS ARE AGENTS OF GODíS REIGN OVER THE UNIVERSE PSALM 103:20; ISAIAH 46:10
God speaks and angels flutter to do it Psa. 103:20. The Lord will accomplish His purposes throuth angels who are devoted to fulfilling Godís declared decree for all things. God controls the elements of nature, including the light that comes from the sun and water through angels Rev. 8:6. Angels have the power to control the sun and stars Rev. 16:8. Psa. 104:3-4 angels
ANGELS:GODíS SECRET AGENTS
are servants as wind and fire are. God is pictured as riding through the universe in His sovereign control of the natural elements by means of angels Psa. 18:10. God accomplishes everything through His powers by angels Hab. 3:6-8. Angels hold back the wind Rev 7:1; angels had power of fire Rev
14:18; angels had power over water Rev 16:3; angels had power over land, vegetation Rev. 8:7.
Angels are an extension of Godís power and will in the universe. God brings earthquakes and natural diasster to pass through angels. Angels are the forces of the natural world since matter does not have force in and of itself. Angelís power is not autonomous since all power is Godís power. Angels then, serve as agents of God in the working out of His will and purpose for all things.
6.††† ANGELS ARE AGENTS OF GODíS CONTROL OVER HUMAN GOVERNMENTS DANIEL 10:13
Behind the human scene, angels busily exercise influence and engage in battle. Individually or collectively they may guide the governements of the world. The prince of the nation of Persia (modern day Iran) opposed an angel of God 21 days Dan. 10:13. Good and bad angels govern over territory and nations of the earth. The archangel, Michael is a special guardian angel over the nation of Israel Daniel 12:1. Bad angels, demons, are released by God to prepare the kings of nations for a great battle Rev. 16:12.
The activity of angels and governments seems to be a major place of conflict between the angels of God and those of Satan. Satan seems to have a demonic network of territorial spirits who work to oppose the gospel, Godís people, and good angels. Godís angels also oppose Satan and his demonic network to guide and oversee governemnts to overrule the work of Satan and fulfill Godís plan. Supernatual principalities, powers, rulers, thrones, kingdoms and other angelic powers stand behind human governements Eph.
7.††† ANGELS WILL SERVE AS INSTRUMENTS OF
GODS JUDGMENT UPON THE WORLD
ANGELS:GODíS SECRET AGENTS
The next stage in Godís program will be the period of the tribulation. A 7 year period when God will execute His judgment upon an unbelieving world. Angels have an active and prolific part in the Great Tribulation which is the last 3 and a half years immediately preceding the time of Christís return to the earth. A view into heaven at this time finds them worshiping God as the greta King Rev. 4:1-11 and worshiping Jesus Christ as the great Savior of the world Rev. 5:8-13. They will control the elements of nature Rev. 7:1; 14:18; seal the 144,000 of Israel to protect them in their worldwide witness of Christ Rev. 7:2-10. A series of judgments will be brought upon the earth because of unbelief and Christ will delegate further judgments to His angels seven of which pronounse their judgments upon trumpets Rev. 8:1-11; 7 angels will pour out bowls of wrath Rev. 15:6-7; 16:1-21. An angel looses a great horde of insects to affict men Rev 9:1-11. Angels will come to take the wicked and cast them into the pit of hell Matt. 13:49-50; Rev. 14:10.
After this period of judgment, Christ will return and angels will enjoy the priviledge of coming with Him as He returns Matt 25:3 1; Luke 9:26. They will participate in taking vengeance on those who have not submitted to Christ 2 Thess. 1:7-9. They will gather the nations for judgment before Christ and will carry out His judgment by casting unbelievers into the lake of fire Matt. 13:41-41; 25:31-32,41. Angels will also gather Christís own people into His earthly Kingdom Matt; 13:43; 24:31; 25:31-34. They will bind Satan for 1000 years Rev. 20:1-3. During Christís reign on earth will associate with us in the New Jerusalem Heb. 12:22-23; Rev. 21:1-11. Satan will be cast into lake of fire and his angels Matt 25:41; Rev 20:7-10.
Angels will execute the judgment of God in the ened-time just as they have throughout history. Again, they serve as agents of God and fulfill His will as He works out His final purpose for the world.
8.††† ANGELS WILL ACCOMPANY CHRIST WHEN
HE RETURNS AT HIS SECOND COMING
The angels predicted that Christ would return in Acts 1:11. Christ himself predicted that His holy angels would accompany him as He returns in glory Matt. 25:31. His first coming was one of humiliation but second will be in glory. The angels will worship Christ at His return Heb 1:6 and pay him homage as their creator. In addition to aiding Christ in the judging of the wicked they will also worship Him forever Rev. 4-5. Angels will serve the
ANGELS:GODíS SECRET AGENTS
returning King of Kings by gathering His elect from all parts of the earth Matt 24:31.
While we may admire the faithful and awesome ministry of angels to God the Father and Jesus Christ Godís Son we might want to ask ourselves if we are striving to be as faithful as they are in their service. We are nerver to exalt or adore the angels but their example of devotion can inspiure us to a life a faithful service and submission to our heavenly Father.
9.††† MICHAEL AND GABRIEL ARE TWO SPECIAL
ANGELS GOD USES DANIEL 12:1; LUKE 1:19
The term, archangel, is used twice 1 Thess. 4:16; Jude 6 and only in reference to Michael. He is assigned to the nation of Israel for protecting and prospering them Daniel 10:13,21; 12:1. He is a leader over his own angels and heavenly army Rev 12:7. He disputed with Satan Jude 9 and will lead a victory over Satan which casts him from heaven Rev. 12:7-10. Michael will also herald the return of Christ for His own people 1 Thess.
Gabriel is called the ďmighty one of God.Ē He stands in the presence of God
Luke 1:19. He also makes special announcements for God including an
appearance to Zechariah to announce the birth of John the Baptist Luke
1:11-12, 19 and appeared to Mary to announce that she would birth Christ
Luke 1:26-29. he is also a revealer of Godís kingdom purposes Daniel 9:22.
1. We must not approach God through angels Col. 2:18; 1 Tim. 2:5. Angels are Godís agents to us but not our agents to God.
2. We must respect angels as messengers of God, agents of His power Jude
8; 2 Pet. 2:10. Michael did not even rebuke Stan but let the Lord do that. We should even respect fallen angels power.
3. We are not to worship angels Matt. 4:10 where Jesus said ďBe gone, satan, only God must be worshippedĒ. Col. 2:18 and Rev. 22:8-9 angels told John not to worship them after he fell down at their feet. The New age movement and the angelic movement both venerate angels which the Bible says is wrong.
4. Be ready to entertain angels since we never know when they may come as Godís secret agents to us Heb. 13:2. It is possible that angels can be ministered and served by us in this life as representatives of God.
ANGELS AND YOU
There is a very big interest in the mystical, experiential, and spiritual phenomenon. In an opinion poll in mid-1980ís American adults believed they had some direct contact with a person who has died. Much of this contact is through what is called ďChannelingĒ. Channeling is the art of bringing from the spirit world some sort of intelligence to promote spiritual teaching for discussion and growth. New age angelology centers on spirit beings that can not only be invoked but also be manipulated by human beings to bring about specific desired results. Instead of God being the Sovereign, in the New Age scenario it is humanity, in the guise of being God, that is sovereign over the angels. Such a system panders to human selfishness, pride, and the perpetual desire for self-exaltation (Isa. 14:12-14; Gen. 3:5).
A survey of world religions and cults will readily reveal the fact that almost all of them practice or are based in some sort of spiritism. Astrology, fortune telling, divination, witchcraft, soothsayers, mediums, and channels are splashed across all religions, traditions, and practices, except Christianity. The Bible is the only source that consistently condemns this.
.The Mosaic Law commands in Deut. 18:10-12 that ĎThere shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the deadĒ.
.The prophet Isaiah warns in Isa. 8:19 ďAnd when they say to you, ĎConsult the mediums and the spiritists who whisper and mutterí, should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living?Ē
.Concerning the rejection of Saul as King over Israel we read in 1 Chron. 10:13 ďSo Saul died for his trespass which he committed against the Lord, because of the word of the Lord which he did not keep; and also because he asked counsel of a medium, making inquiry of itĒ.
Paul tells us that these spiritual forces are our enemies not our
frkn4a when he writes in Eph. 6:12 ďFor our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.Ē
ANGELS AND YOU
The point being that these popular spiritual elements and practices of the New Age movement generally and itís angelic phenomenon specifically are very strongly condemned by the Word of God.
In contrast to this New Age emphasis about spirit beings, the Bible gives a very different identity of angels and their work with people. The purpose of this lesson is to clarify what this work is and explain how angels do work in our lives. We will discover that it not only a very different work than the New Agers teach, but that it is also a very specific and active work which God commissions His angels to accomplish.
1.††† ANGELS ARE SPIRIT-SERVANTS SENT BY
GOD TO CARRY OUT TASKS ON BEHALF OF
BELIEVERS HEBREWS 1:14
ďAre not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?Ē Angels render aid to believers in the outworking of Godís purposes on earth. The point is that God has specifically sent and appointed angels to carry out plans on our behalf; humans do not invoke or manipulate angels to do so. Angels assist us only because God has ordained it that way. There is never any sense that these sent ones are more significant than or take the place of God who sent them. Godís angels act to carry out only that which God commands. Psalm 103:20 refers to angels as ones ďwho do His bidding, who obey His Word.Ē
Angels are free to carry out Godís commands in creative ways. For instance, in Gen. 19 God sent angels to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah because of itís wickedness. They wished to stay in the city square but were persuaded to stay in Lotís home for the night. After Lotís house was surrounded by men from the city the angels pulled Lot into the house, struck the men outside with blindness so they could escape (they could have struck them dead since the city was going to be destroyed anyway); urged Lot to take his family to escape with him; when Lot hesitated they seized his hand, his wifeís and his daughters and put them outside the city; commanding Lot and his family to run for their lives and not look back, Lot lingered and negotiated to escape to a smaller city closer than the mountains and the angels granted his request vs. 21. Throughout this episode the angels are responding to the situation as it unfolds. Angels are spirit beings who possess intelligence, emotion and will. In this situation, God commands them to destroy the city but they are free to use their mind, emotion and will to get it done.
ANGELS AND YOU
Angels serve us in many ways. The rest of our study will identify the ways in which angels are commissioned by God to serve His people.
2.††† ANGELS OFTEN GUARD GODíS PEOPLE AND
PROTECT THEM FROM PHYSICAL DANGER
PSALM 91:11-12; 2 KINGS 6:15-17; DANIEL 6:20-23
The world is a dangerous place, and angels can provide supernatural protection when it is part of Godís plan to do so. Psalm 91:11-12 explains that no harm or disaster can come to those who have made the Lord their refuge ďFor He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways. They bear you up in their hands, lest you strike your foot against a stone.Ē Angels protect from physical harm and give believers strength to overcome difficulties. For example, in 2 Kings 6 we read of a servant of the prophet Elisha terrified to see the city surrounded by enemies ready to attack. In a frenzy he wanted to know what they should do. Elisha told him to stop fearing because of a heavenly force though unseen superior to that of the enemy. He prayed that his servant would see this heavenly host and God opened his eyes to observe the hills filled with fiery agents of God on horses and in chariots. He glimpsed the normally unseen world of invisible angels constantly ready to protect Godís people. Another example is the prophet Daniel in the lions den overnight in Daniel 6. The next morning the king approached the den and cried out to see if Daniel was still alive. ďMy God sent His angel and shut the lions mouths and they have not harmed me...Ē was Danielís response. Angels also protect the baby Jesus Matthew 1:20-21, children Matthew 18:10, Godís leaders Acts 27:23, preserve 144.000 Jewish evangelists during the tribulation Rev. 7:2.
Since angels are spirit beings, part of the spiritual world, and since we are not knowledgeable of Godís plans and purposes, we may not know when angels are involved in some way to protect us from harm. There is no reason to believe they no longer serve us this way. On the contrary, angels are probably more active in protecting us in this dangerous world than we can perceive while we are still here. Their ministry of protection is determined by God as He works out His purposes in our lives.
3.††† ANGELS GIVE GUIDANCE SO GODíS PEOPLE
WILL KNOW WHAT TO DO MATTHEW 2 8:5-7;
ANGELS AND YOU
An angel appeared at the tomb of Jesus and encouraged the women there to come and see the place where the Lord had been lying. Then the angel told them to go quickly and tell the disciples that He had risen from the dead and would be going ahead of them into Galilee Matt. 28:5-7. God used an angel to guide Philip to preach to the Samaritans in Acts 8:26 when he was told by the angel to ďArise and go to the south to the road.. .that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.Ē Interestingly we read that Philip was first guided by an angel to take this trip and then by the Holy Spirit in vs. 29 to lead this man he met to Christ. The angel gave general direction to Philip but the Holy Spirit pointed out the exact person Philip was to talk to. Acts 10:1-8; 11:13-14 Cornelius a Roman centurion was directed by an angel to send for Peter who preached the gospel to him and Cornelius and his household became Christians. Interesting that Peter was led to go to Cornelius by the Holy Spirit vs. 19-20.
God does use angels to give us guidance when we may not know what to do or be unaware of what we should be doing. Since we are unaware of when we might be entertaining angels He. 13:1, these may be opportunities when God uses them to give us guidance in some way. It seems that God primarily guides us through the work of the Holy Spirit within us (Romans 8:14,16; Eph.4:30; 1 Thess. 5:19; Gal. 5:16). However, it is evident that He also commissions His angels, when it is part of His plan to do so, to lead us when we might not know what to do.
4.††† ANGELIC SERVICE TO US CAN INCLUDE
POWERFUL ENCOURAGEMENT†††††††††††† LUKE 22:43;
When Paul and his shipmates were caught in a horrible storm and faced shipwreck, an angel appeared to him, assured him that not a life would be lost, and that he would live to stand trial before Caesar Acts 27:23-25. While Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane the night he was betrayed, he was praying while struggling at the same time with the temptation to forsake the fatherís plan for Him to die. An angel appeared on the scene and served to strengthen and encourage Jesus as he prayed about His own impending death.
There may be moments when God sends an angel/s to deliver powerful encouragement and strength to us when we are struggling with a difficult situation. He could provide this supernatural strength and encouragement through angels when we are facing something we have never faced before
ANGELS AND YOU
like death, physical ailment, loss of job or when we seem overwhelmed with life or discouraged because of painful circumstances or it seems hopeless to carry on with obedience to God. God knows just when we need that inertia to pick us up, that insight to give us hope, that clarity to focus our thoughts, and He can use an angel to deliver it to us. It must be said, though, that God primarily uses His Word in our lives and the promises it gives us as the means by which are spirit is strengthened, encouraged and built up. It is our trust in this Word (2 Tim. 3:16-17) and our obedience to it that primarily brings the strength we need to carry on.
5.††† ANGELS ESCORT BELIEVERS TO HEAVEN AFTER DEATH LUKE 16:22; JUDE 9
Jesus spoke of angels carrying Lazarusí spirit to Abrahamís bosom upon death Luke 16:22. Mosesí body was the concern of the archangel Michael in his dispute with Satan Jude 9. Michael is also mentioned in connection with the day of resurrection for Israelsí righteous dead Daniel 12:1-3.
This may be a task that God has appointed to angels when we pass on from this world into the next. A contemporary example of angels escorting believers to heaven comes from an eyewitness, Dawa of the Auca Indians. She was eyewitness to the slaughtering of five missionaries by the Auca Indians in Ecuador in January of 1956, recounted in Christianity Today magazine Sept. 16, 1996 issue. During the attack she hid in the bushes and after the killing of the missionaries heard singing that sounded like a choir, saw lights like human beings moving above the trees moving around and shining like a bright multitude in the sky. Others there saw this and heard the singing as well. Dawa has said that this supernatural experience was what drew her to God when she later heard of Him from another friend. Possibly these angels were there to escort the martyred missionaries to heaven.
6.††† ANGELS ARE CAPABLE OF LEARNING AND
DEVELOPING AS THEY OBSERVE OUR EARTHLY
ACTIVITIES 1 PETER 1:10-12; EPHESIANS 3:10;
1 CORINTHIANS 11:10
Jesus tells us in Luke 15:10 that there is great joy in heaven among the angels of God when a sinner repents and accepts Jesus Christ as Savior. They are clearly intrigued by what God is doing and long to know more
ANGELS AND YOU
about it 1 Pet. 1:10-12. The reality of Christianity is held in awe and wonder by the angels in heaven. They marvel at the grace of God and are curious about the work of salvation through Jesus Christ. as they learn, they develop in understanding and may be able to worship and serve God with greater devotion and comprehension. Angels also marvel at Godís wisdom as they observe the church in regard to itís ministry, witness, discipleship, prayer and worship of God 1 Cor. 11:10. Angels evidently observe the ministry of the church and learn from it 1 Cor.11:1-10. They witness the testimony we give and watch our faithfulness and devotion to Christ ďI solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of His chosen angelsĒ 1 Tim. 5 :21.
As part of Godís household Heb. 12:22 angels can learn about the Christian life as they are allowed to observe our ministry and witness for Christ. This unseen and unobserved angelic witness to our life and service for God makes it clear that our behavior is to be respectful to the angels present and even instructive to them. The sin of Satan and the fallen angels was pride and arrogance--an unwillingness to learn, to submit and a desire for prominence.
The activity of angels to God, Christ, and believers is wide and varied. They are primarily servants and messengers of God to accomplish His purposes in our lives, in heaven and in the world. The ministry of angels to men is primarily external and physical, whereas the ministry of the Holy Spirit of God is internal and spiritual. Angels minister for us; the Holy Spirit in us (Jn. 14:16-17; Heb. 1:13-14). They guard our bodies, our life and the Holy Spirit guards our spirit and guides us in the right paths. Presently angels are developing by observing believers in salvation, in service, in worship and are intrigued by Godís grace operating in men and in the world. We shall associate with angels in heaven, in the earthly kingdom and we will even rule over angels 1 Cor. 6:3. Though we are to admire and respect angels, we are not to worship them. They, like us, are servants of God