Category: Creation, Word: ANGELS
August 14, 2015 | by: Kendell Easley, prepared by Dave Maniquis | 0 Comments
Posted in: 52 Words
Then war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. The dragon and his angels also fought, but he could not prevail, and there was no place for them in heaven any longer. (Revelation 12:7-8)
DEFINITION: An angel is one of the multitudes of personal supernatural spirit beings that God made. All angels were created good, but some fell into evil. In English, “angel” is derived directly from the Greek angelos, meaning “messenger,” one function of certain good angels.
Various cultural and religious traditions about angels have developed over many centuries. The biblical information is limited and mysterious. Angels often served as mighty warriors carrying out divine judgment against evil, such as destroying Sodom or killing an Assyrian army (Gen 19:1; 2 Chr 32:21). Sometimes they aided God’s people (Ex 23:23), and the fiery chariots and horses that Elijah and Elisha saw were evidently angel armies, or the heavenly host (2 Kg 2:11; 6:17). “The angel of the Lord,” mentioned about fifty times in the Old Testament, may have been a manifestation of the Son of God before He became flesh.
Cherubs are winged angels related especially to the glorious presence of God. Carved representations of cherubs sat atop the Israelites’ sacred ark (Num 7:89; Ezk 10:1-22). Isaiah saw six-winged seraphs (“burning ones”), perhaps the same as the living creatures described by Ezekiel and John (Isa 6:1-7; Ezk 1:4-21; Rev 4:6-8). Gabriel and Michael are the only holy angels named in Scripture (Evil angels are discussed more fully in the articles on the Devil and on demons.)
Angels surrounded the life of Jesus, especially His birth and His resurrection. Angels are prominently associated with Christ’s return both in the Gospels and in Revelation. They are sometimes described as men wearing white or dazzling clothes (Mk 16:5; Acts 1:10). Aside from the living creatures of Revelation, no New Testament angelic creature is described as having wings. Angels number in the multiplied thousands (Rev 5:11).
A number of New Testament persons received divine messages from angels (examples: Mary, Lk 1:26-38: shepherds, Lk 2:9-15; women at the tomb, Mt 28:2-7; Philip, Acts 8:26; and Paul, Acts 27:23). On occasion they did mighty acts on behalf of believers or as agents of divine judgment (Acts 12:7-11, 23). As the citation of Revelation 12:7-8 above shows, good angels and evil angels oppose each other in supernatural spiritual warfare (see Eph 6:12).
Jesus taught that angels have a special relationship to children and that they do not marry, presumably because they are asexual (Mt 18:10; 22:30). Paul warned against emphasizing angels (Col 2:18). He also hinted that angels are highly organized and taught that believers will someday judge angels (Eph 3:10; 1 Cor 6:3). Hebrews teaches more about angels than any other epistle, and chapters 1 and 2 are especially concerned to show the superiority of Christ to angels. Although there is no direct biblical teaching that humans have guardian angels, they are “ministering spirits sent out to serve those who are going to inherit salvation” (Heb 1:14).
REFLECTION: To what extent are your beliefs about angels based on Scripture? On popular culture? Would you accept as valid the claims of someone who supposedly saw an angel?
PRAYER: Holy Father, You created angels to be Your servants. They are mighty and they are Your messengers. They also mysteriously serve those who will be finally redeemed. Thank You that the Lord Jesus, Your eternal uncreated Son, is superior to all angels. Amen.
Dave Maniquis is a Teaching Elder at Restoration Church. He holds a BA in History from Rutgers University and an MA in Biblical Studies from Reformed Theological Seminary. He enjoyed a 23-year career in the U.S. Government, working and traveling extensively in Western and Eastern Europe. He has been a Christian for most of his adult life and has been involved in church planting, overseas as well as here in Port Orange, teaching the Bible and speaking into others’ lives with the Gospel. He is married to Maureen and they have two wonderful sons, Dylan and Evan.