2003-05-11 - Angels

The Doctrine of Angels Part 1 ~ Introduction

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Special Note: Beginning tonight, on Saturday nights, we will be sending out a Bible study written by one of our CF Devotionals staff members, our pastoral advisor, Geoff. We consider this a golden opportunity to share something a little more in-depth. As most of you know, angels are a popular topic in our culture. I did a brief websearch on the topic, and there were over 4,650,000 matches. You can buy angel lamps, Angel Perfume, Angel candles - and there was a network television show, whose primary characters were angels. Much of the info out there is not based on true Biblical theology. Over the next several weeks, we will be examining some of what God's word really has to say about Angels.

The Reverend John G. Paton, a missionary in the New Hebrides Islands, tells a thrilling story involving the protective care of angels. Hostile natives surrounded his mission headquarters one night, intent on burning the Patons out and killing them. John Paton and his wife prayed all during that terrorfilled night that God would deliver them. When daylight came they were amazed to see the attackers unaccountably leave. They thanked God for delivering them.

A year later, the chief of the tribe was converted to Jesus Christ, and Mr. Paton, remembering what had happened, asked the chief what had kept him and his men from burning down the house and killing them. The chief replied in surprise, "Who were all those men you had with you there?" The missionary answered, "There were no men there; just my wife and I." The chief argued that they had seen many men standing guard-hundreds of big men in shining garments with drawn swords in their hands. They seemed to circle the mission station so that the natives were afraid to attack. Only then did Mr. Paton realize that God had sent his angels to protect them. The chief agreed that there was no other explanation. Could it be that God had sent a legion of angels to protect His servants, whose lives were being endangered?" 1

This illustration was taken from Billy Graham’s book on angels. It certainly sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. "Oh, my lord, what shall we do?" the servant asked. "Don’t be afraid," the prophet answered. "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them." And Elisha prayed, "O LORD, open his eyes so he may see." Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha (1 Kings 6:14-17).

My primary source for these studies is Through the Bible in One Year 2 and a number of secondary sources including Angels, God’s Secret Agents by Billy Graham. 1 Graham, Billi, Angels, God’s Secret Agents, Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, NY, 1975, p. 2-3. 2 Stringfellow, Alan B., ed., Through the Bible in One Year, Vol. 3, Great Truths of the Bible, Copyright © 1981 by Virgil W. Hensley, Inc., Publisher, Tulsa, OK, p. 73-91.

  1. Introduction

    First, we must start with one basic truth: Angels, God’s creation, include angels, demons and Satan. These beings are all angels. That being the case, it couldn’t hurt to get a definition of the word angel.

    "ANGEL (Gr. angelos, messenger). A supernatural, heavenly being, a little higher in dignity than man. Their creation (Ps 148:2-5; Col 1:16) was certainly before the creation of man (Job 38:7). They are described as "spirits" (Heb 1:14)." 3 Douglas, J. D. and Merrill C. Tenney, editors, NIV Bible Dictionary, Zondervan Interactive Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI, 1989

    Praise him, all his angels, praise him, all his heavenly hosts. Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars. Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies. Let them praise the name of the LORD, for he commanded and they were created (Psalm 148:2-5).

    For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him (Colossians 1:16).

    …The morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy (Job 38:7). Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation? (Hebrews 1:14).

    "The Hebrew and Greek translate the word "angel" as "messenger, ambassador, minister." The term "angel" is not a personal name, but a title describing the office. The "angel" is always used in the masculine gender, through sex, in the human sense, is never ascribed to angels." 44 Stringfellow, p. 73.

  2. "Holy Angels"

    Now we are going to look at some of the basic truths regarding angels in general, and specifically the righteous angels.

    1. The Creation of Angels

      Angels were created by God. They were created before the creation of mankind. They were created prior to the creation of the earth.

      Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone—while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? (Job 38:4-7).

    2. The Form & Nature of Angels

      It is important to realize there are significant misunderstandings about angels. These misunderstandings can affect how one perceives both angels and demons. To clarify, we will look at who they are and what they aren’t.

      1. Angels are spirits. This means they are not male, though when manifesting visibility, they appear so. This means they have no true physical body. It also means they have no sexuality as we understand it. They don’t reproduce and they don’t interact sexually with humans, which puts an end to some of the more bizarre stories about demons.

        Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation? (Hebrews 1:14).

        The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. But those who are considered worthy of taking part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection (Luke 20:34-36).

      2. As already noted, Angels have the ability to manifest a physical form, which … The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you." Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be (Luke 1:28-29).

      3. Angels appear in a male form or at least we can say that masculine pronouns are used when describing them.

        "There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay" (Matthew 28:2-6).

To be continued next week.

[email geoff] GKragen@aol.com

For more information about the author, podcasts and additional studies visit www.GKRAGEN.com.

CFD | May 2003 | Geoff's Devotions | Geoff's Studies | Angels | Devotional Topics