Angels are mentioned about 300 times in Scripture. They are intelligent, powerful spirit beings. They are God’s ministers (Ps. 104:4). The word “angel” means messenger.
Division of Angels into Good and Evil: There was a rebellion among the angels led by Lucifer, the head cherub. Lucifer’s rebellion is described in Isa. 14:12-14 and Eze. 28:11-16. He became proud (1 Ti. 3:6) and determined to be “like the most high” (Isa. 14:14). Apparently the angels made choices in that event, whether to follow Lucifer or God. We read of the Father’s angels (Re. 3:5) and the devil’s angels (Re. 12:7, 9). There was a war. “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels” (Re. 12:7). Evil angels are those which followed Satan in his rebellion against God (Mt. 25:41; Re. 12:9). They are called “the angels that sinned (2 Pe. 2:4) and “the angels which kept not their first estate” (Jude 1:6). They are also called devils (Greek diamon) (Mt. 8:31) and and evil spirits (Ac. 19:15). They are organized under Satan’s command to help carry out his evil designs in this world (Ep. 6:12). Some of the fallen angels are already in a place of confinement awaiting judgment (2 Pe. 2:4; Jude 6). Good angels are those which continue to serve and obey God. They are God’s ministers who obey His commandments and hear His Word (Ps. 103:20-21). They are called “elect angels” (1 Ti. 5:21),
What Are Angels Like? (1) They are spirits (He. 1:7). (2) They are clothed in glorious light (Lu. 2:9; 9:26; Re. 10:1; 18:1). (3) They can fly swiftly (Da. 9:21; Re. 8:13; 14:6), though the Bible does not say that angels have wings. Every time that angels appeared to men in Scripture, they appear as men and not as women and not with wings. (Cherubim and seraphim have wings, but they aren’t specifically called angels, Is. 6:2; Eze. 1:6.) (4) They are always referred to as masculine (Ge. 18:1-2; Ju. 13:3, 6; Lk. 24:3-4). (5) They do not marry (Mt. 22:30). (6) They excel in strength and are mighty (Ps. 103:20; 2 Th. 1:7). (7) They are wise (2 Sa. 14:20). (8) They cannot die (Lk. 20:36).
How Many Angels Are There? There is an innumerable company of them (Heb. 12:22). There are “ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands” (Re. 5:11).
What Do Angels Do? (1) They worship God (Re. 5:11-12; Ps. 148:2). (2) They serve and obey God (Ps. 103:20-21). (3) They minister to and protect God’s people (He. 1:14; 13:2). The angels have been involved with redeemed sinners throughout history. They are participants in God’s eternal plan “that in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might to gather together in one all things in Christ” (Eph. 1:10). Angels ministered to Hagar (Ge. 16:7-11), Lot (Ge. 19:1-15), Abraham (Ge. 24:7), Jacob (Ge. 28:12), Moses (Ex. 3:2), Israel in the wilderness (Ex. 14:19; 23:20), Israel in the times of the Judges (Jdg. 21-4), Gideon (Jdg. 6:11-12), Samson’s parents (Jdg. 13), Elijah (1 Ki. 19:5-7; 2 Ki. 1:3, 15), Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Da. 3:28), and Daniel (Da. 6:22). (4) Angels revealed things to the prophets (Zec. 1:9; Re. 1:1; 17:1; 21:9; 22:6). (5) Angels accompany saints to heaven when they die (Lk. 16:22). (6) Angels had a major role in Christ’s incarnation. They appeared to Zacharias (Lu. 1:11-20), Mary (Lu. 1:26-38), Joseph (Mt. 1:20; 2:13, 19), and the shepherds (Lu. 2:8-15). They worshipped Christ (Heb. 1:6). Angels ministered to Christ after the temptation (Mt. 4:11) and at Gethsemane (Lu. 22:43). At the resurrection, angels rolled away the stone from Christ’s tomb (Mt. 28:2) and appeared to the disciples (Mt. 28:5; Joh. 20:12). (7) They assist in the Great Commission, though they don’t preach the gospel. In the early churches, angels brought the apostles out of prison (Ac. 5:19-20), directed Philip to the Ethiopian eunuch (Ac. 8:26), instructed Cornelius to call Peter (Ac. 10:3-6), brought Peter out of prison (Ac. 12:7-11), and helped Paul (Ac. 27:23). (8) Since the days of the apostles, angels continue to minister to the saints. Angels watch over children who believe in Jesus (Mt. 18:6,10). Hebrews 13:2 says that angels sometimes appear as “strangers.” When Paul wrote to Timothy, he charged him “before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels” (1 Ti. 5:21), which would mean that the angels were aware of Paul’s writings and are observers of the things in the churches. We see this in 1 Corinthians 11:10, where the woman is instructed to cover her head as a sign of submission to authority “because of the angels.” They are observers. Paul said that “we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men” (1 Co. 4:9), which again reveals that angels are witnesses of the business of gospel preaching. (9) Angels are involved in warning and judgment (Jdg. 2:1-4; 2 Sa. 24:16; 2 Ki. 19:35; 2 Ch. 32:21; Ps. 78:49; Ac. 12:23; Re. 8:6-12; 14:17-20; 15:7; 16:1-21). (10) Angels desire to look into the things of the gospel (1 Pe. 1:12), and they are learning from God’s revelations to and workings in the church (Ep. 3:10). (11) Angels will return with Christ and divide the saved from the unsaved before the establishment of Christ’s kingdom (Mt. 13:41; 24:31; 2 Th. 1:7-8). Angels will be witnesses of Jesus’ judgments on men after His return (Lu. 12:8-9). This probably refers to the judgment of the nations (Mt. 25:31-48). (12) An angel will bind Satan (Re. 20:1-3). (13) Angels guard the gates of the New Jerusalem (Re. 21:12).
What Christians Can Learn from Angels: (1) Worship (Re. 5:11). (2) Obedience and service (Ps. 103:20-21). (3) Interest in God’s Word (1 Pe. 1:12). (4) Love for Jesus (Lk. 2:13-15; Mt. 4:11). (5) Excitement about sinners being saved (Lk. 15:10). [See Archangel, Cherubim, Devils, Gabriel, Michael, Satan, Seraphim.]
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