Angels are created spirit beings, their duties are to worship and to serve God. They are a company created to minister to the heirs of salvation. There are two classes of angels: elect and fallen, and man is forbidden to worship either.
The doctrine of angelology has been neglected for the following reasons:
- Ignorance concerning what scripture teaches.
- Unbelief in the supernatural including the existence of angels.
- Fear or superstition concerning the unseen realm.
- Undue adoration, worship and prayer to angels.
By studying and searching the Word of God we find the answers. The Word is the ―final court of appeal‖ as stated in Isaiah the prophet “to the law and to the testimony: if they (spirits from the unseen world) speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them.” Isaiah 8:19, 20.
The existence of Angels
In scripture we read about God’s everlasting Kingdom, and in this Kingdom there are created spirit beings called angels.
These fall into two categories: Good and Evil angels
The good angels are concerned with our welfare, the evil are out to cause harm to the human race. (There are three hundred references in the bible to angels).
- The Hebrew word “malak” ―an agent, a messenger‖
- The Greek word “angelos” ―messenger‖.
The Lord Jesus Christ Himself spoke of the angels, and was also ministered to by them.
Mark 8:38; 13:32; Matthew 13:41; 2 Thessalonians 1:7; John 1:15; Hebrews 12:22.
Order in the Universal Kingdom of God
In God’s Kingdom there is divine order. Matthew 6:9-10; 2 Peter 1:11, Hebrews 12:28. The Eternal Godhead as Father, Son and Holy Spirit and then the various orders of angelic beings.
Scripture speaks of archangels, principalities, powers, seraphim, cherubim, the Angel of the Lord and then also the myriads of angels.
- The Godhead: The Eternal Godhead as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the creator and Lord of angels. 1 Colossians 1:16, 17. Christ is the one through whom God created everything in heaven and earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see: kings, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities. Everything has been created through Him and for Him. He existed before everything else began, and He holds all creation together.
- The Archangels: Scripture specifically name only three that are generally accepted as archangels.
- Lucifer: means “Day Star” is seen as the archangel who was associated with the throne of God as the leader of the worship of God among the angelic hosts. Through pride and rebellion he fell from this place.
- Michael: means “Who is like God” there are four special accounts of his activities. Daniel 10:21; 12:1-4; Jude 9; Revelation12:7-9. Michael is the chief prince of the nation of Israel in the Old Testament. His chief activities are always seen in connection with warfare with Satan.
c) Gabriel: means “Strength of God” it seems that Gabriel is a prophetic angel, the messenger and interpreter of the prophetic word concerning Christ of God. He appeared to Daniel twice and then to Zacharias, John the Baptist’s father, and then Mary, the virgin mother of Jesus. Each visitation involved Messianic revelation. Daniel 8:16-19; 9:1-27; 10:8-11; Luke 1:19,26. Gabriel stands in the presence of God with Michael, never with Lucifer.
- Multitude of Angelic Hosts: Scriptures clearly show that there are legions or myriads (too numerous to count) of angelic beings. Scriptures speaks of thousands or multitudes of spirit beings that worship and serve God. Luke 2:13, 14 ―And suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven— praising God, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to all whom God favors.”
The Nature of Angels
- Angels are Created Beings
- Angels are created by God and for God’s purpose; owing their very existence to God they are finite, limited and dependent beings. Colossians 1:16; Revelation 4:11
- Angels are Spirit Beings
- These angels are ministering spirits, as flames of fire. At times, angels under God could assume human form or appear and perform human deeds. Hebrews 1:13-14; 12:22-23, Psalm 78:25, Gen 18:8
- Angels are Immortal
- They derive their immortality from God. Luke 20:34-35; 1Timothy 6:16
- Angels are a Company
- Angels are a company of beings, not a race, that is to say they are not involved in marriage. Although spoken of in the masculine gender – and angels are sexless. Luke 20:34-35; Hebrews 2:16
- Angels are Innumerable
- Angels are an innumerable host; they are as myriad as the stars of light.
k) Daniel 7:9-10; Luke 2:13; Psalm 148:2-6
- Angels are Higher than Man
- In the order of created beings, angels are the first before man. The scripture show that man is a little lower than the angels. Psalm 8:1-4; 103:20, Hebrews 2:7 However angels are not heirs of God as believers are. Hebrews 1:5; 2:6 Angels are superior to man, but inferior to Christ who created them.
- Angels are a Freewill Creation
Angels were created with freewill, having the power of choice. Some angels sinned, this shows they had the power of choice, to follow God or follow Satan. Isaiah14:12-14; 2 Peter 2:4
- Angels are Personalities
Angels are not mere good and evil influences, but are real personalities, having intelligence and will. Matthew 18:10; Psalm 103:20-21; Revelation 4:8
- Angels are Invisible
Christ is the one through whom God created everything in heaven and earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see—kings, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities. Everything has been created through Him and for Him. As spirit beings, angels are also invisible, though at times they can become visible to human eyes.
The Character of Angels
- Their Worship – Holy angels never accept worship from man, though fallen angels seek to be worshipped. Psalm 103:20; Hebrews 1:6; Matthew 22:30. Angels of the Lord will always direct worship to God and are symbolic of the ―church in heaven‖ the redeemed. Hebrews 12:22-24.
Their Obedience: The elect angels are immediate and unquestioningly perfect. Fallen angels disobey God’s will and word. Matthew 6:10; 26:53; Psalm 103:20-21.
Their Wisdom: Angels are wise, but not all –wise, as God is. Their wisdom has increased over ages of time as they are in God’s presence. 2 Samuel 14:17; 19:27; Ephesians 3:9-10.
Their Knowledge: Their knowledge like their wisdom has increased through ages also, having wisdom and knowledge, however they are not omniscient.
Mark 13:32; 1 Peter1:12
Their Meekness: Angels bear in their character the meekness of God. Fallen angels rose up in pride. 2 Peter 2:11; Jude 9
Their Strength: Scripture gives examples of their strength and power, one angel slew 185,000 Assyrians in one night when delivering King Hezekiah from danger. Psalm 103:20; 2 Peter 2:11; Revelation 18:1, 21; 2 Kings 19:35.
Their Holiness: They possess the attribute of derived holiness. Mark 8:38, Revelation 14:10: must drink the wine of God’s wrath. It is poured out undiluted into God’s cup of wrath. And they will be tormented with fire and burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and the Lamb.
Their Patience: Angels have the quality of patience, as they wait before God and do his bidding. Numbers 22:22-35; Matthew 18:10.
Their Modesty: Angels are reserved and decent in their behavior before God and those that are heirs to salvation. 1 Corinthians 11:10.
Their Ability: Angels, when sent by God to various persons on earth can speak the languages needed to communicate God’s message. 1 Corinthians 13:1They can speak tongues of men or of angels. 1 Corinthians 13:1 ―if I could speak in any language in heaven or on earth but didn’t love others, I would only be making meaningless noise like a loud gong or a clanging cymbal”.
Their Joy: Angels rejoice at the creation of the earth. They also rejoice over any repentant sinner or those redeemed by the Lord. Luke 15:10; 1 Corinthians 4:9.
Their Clothing: They are generally clothed in white raiment, or raiment that is bright as light. No darkness is in them. They are clear and transparent before a holy God. Revelation 15:1-8.
Titles of Angels
Angels have various titles and names of God are used to bring out aspects of their nature. The word ―angel’ is used in scripture of various grouping of persons and only the immediate context will determine who the angel-messenger referred to may be.
Their 3 Categories
- The Lord Jesus is revealed as the Angel of the Lord. Exodus 3:2-15; 32:34, are also spoken of as being ―angels‖
- Ministers of the churches or God’s prophets are spoken of as being ―angels‖. Revelation1:1, 20; 2:1, 8, 12; 19:10; 22:16. Haggai the prophet was God’s messenger Haggai 1:13. John the Baptist was spoken of as the ―Messenger of the Lord‖ Malachi 2:7 and Jesus Christ Himself is spoken of as ―The Messenger of the Covenant‖ Malachi 3:1.
- Angelic beings are also God’s messengers, Psalm 68:17; 104:4, thus only the context will give clues of the identification as to which ―angel-messenger‖ is spoken of.
Names of Angels
Watchers (Daniel 4:13); Hosts of God (Psalm33:6), Saints (Jude14) Ministering spirits (Heb1;13-14); Flames of Fire (Psalm104:4); The Elect (1Timothy5:2); Sons of God (Job1:6); Morning Stars (Job38:7); Sons of the Might (Psalm89:6); Angels (Heb12:22); Princes (Daniel 10:13,20,21); Thrones (Col 1:16; Rom8:38); Dominions (Col 1:16); Powers (Col 1:16).
The Ministry of Angels
The function of angels is primary twofold: worship and service. Revelation 4:11. The elect angels are ―ministering spirits sent forth to them who are the heirs of salvation‖ Hebrews 1:13-14; Psalm103; 20-21.
Jesus said that the angels of God ascend and descend upon the Son of Man, who is the fulfillment of Jacob’s ladder. Thus they minister to those who, like Jacob, are the heirs of salvation, John1:51; Genesis 28:11-12; Matthew 18:10.
Angels have access to both heaven and earth. The angels have been given a charge over the saints to keep them in all their ways, Psalm 91:11-12.
The angels behold the Father’s face as guardian angels, Matthew 18:10.
When the saints gather together, it includes the angels as well as the spirits of just men made perfect, Hebrews 12:22-24.
If the Lord were to open our eyes we would behold this innumerable company of God’s hosts surrounding us for our protection and well-being,
2 Kings 6:16-17.
The Ministry of Angels in the Old Testament:
- Three angels visited Abraham and Sarah. Genesis 18:2.
- The Angel of the Lord called out to Abraham to spare Isaac his only begotten son, and offer a ram instead, Genesis 22:11-15.
- God sent an angel to warn the prophet Balaam of his disobedience.
- An angel destroyed 70 000 Israelites when David sinned in numbering the people without the atonement money. 2 Samuel 24:16-17.
The Ministry of Angels in the New Testament
Ministry of the Lord Jesus: In His Birth; In His Temptation; In His Ministry; In His Intercession; In His Resurrection; In His Ascension; In His Advent.
In the Early Church:
- An angel opened the prison doors to release the apostles to witness. Acts 5:19.
- Philip was sent by an angel to the desert to witness to the Ethiopian. Acts 8:26.
- The angel rescued Peter out of prison the night before he was to be slain. Acts 12:5-11
- The saints are to judge the angels in due time. 1 Corinthians 6:3.
The Angels and the Gospel
Peter tells us that the angels desire to look into the mystery of our great salvation as foretold by the Old Testament prophets.
In 1 Peter 1:12 they were told that these things would not happen during their lifetime, but many years later, during yours. And now this Good News has been announced by those who preached to you in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. It is all so wonderful that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen.
Joseph was told by an angel of the incarnation of the Christ-child in his espoused wife, Mary
Gabriel had also foretold to Daniel the notable 70 Week Prophecy which involved the coming of the Messiah, and his crucifixion Daniel 9:24-27.
It was an angel who appeared to Cornelius to send for Peter who would give him ‖words whereby he could be saved‖ Acts 10:1-4, 22, 44-46; 11:13-14.
The Angels in the Book of Revelation
Innumerable angels worship God and the Lamb. Revelation 5:11
Seven angels sound the seven trumpets of judgment. Revelation 8:2; 7; 8; 10; 12; 9:1;13.
Michael and his angels engage in war with Satan and his angels and cast them out.
An angel announces the everlasting gospel of judgment, warning the earth-dwellers not to take the mark of the beast. Revelation 14:6, 9
Interesting Angelic Interaction
God sent an angel to interpret Zechariah's vision in chapter One. Then Zechariah witnessed a conversation between the angel and the Lord, and then further on in Zechariah 2, the angel talked with another angel. The second angel gave a prophetic word to the first angel to give to Zechariah. Zechariah had an unusual experience with the activity of angels.
Angels Help with Healing
The water at the pool of Bethesda was stirred ever so often by an angel and healing came to those who stepped into it. John 5:2-4.
Angels Bring Instruction and Roll Away Stones
An angel came and rolled back the stone from the tomb for the two Marys and told them of Jesus' resurrection, then instructed them to go and tell the disciples. Matthew 28:2,7.
The Angels Prophesy
Another angel prophesied the birth of John to Zechariah. Luke 1:13. Then Gabriel was sent to Mary to prophesy the birth of the Saviour. Luke 1:26-33, and in the next chapter, the angels went to the shepherds in the field to announce the birth.
Angels Can Open Doors
An angel was sent to open the prison doors for the apostles. Acts 5:19 Angels Bring Protection
An angel gave Paul a message of hope for the people in the ship when he was being taken
to Italy, and the ship was in danger, Acts 27:23-24. Angels are sent to protect us.
New King James, Personal Study Bible, Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Foundations of Christian Doctrine: K J Connor.
Life Application Study Bible – New Living Translation