By Elizabeth Prata
Part 1 here
I first looked at angels the other day with scriptures, gave some links to credible essays and links to proper discussions of angels (there is so much bad out there regarding these creatures) and spent a short amount of time discussing the unholy angels.
There is so much more that could be said about angels both holy and unholy. Certainly my two short blogs are not a comprehensive look at these amazing creatures. In fact, there is an entire section of theology called Angelology that focuses on studying them.
Angels appear throughout the Bible. They first appear in the Bible chronologically in Genesis 3:24, where God sent a Cherubim with flaming sword to guard the way back in to the Garden of Eden.
The word ‘angels’ comes from a word meaning messenger, and could be applied to any messenger such as human pastors or even events such as pestilences, says the Easton Bible Dictionary.
“But its distinctive application is to certain heavenly intelligences whom God employs in carrying on his government of the world. The name does not denote their nature but their office as messengers.” Source Easton, M. G. (1893). In Illustrated Bible Dictionary and Treasury of Biblical History, Biography, Geography, Doctrine, and Literature.”
‘Heavenly intelligences’ is a good way to describe them. They are not human, but they are living, God-created creatures with intelligence, personal will, and power. Angels are a class of beings that are not human and not part of the Trinity. They have superior power and abilities than humans, but are not human. When humans die, they do not turn into angels. We should stop saying things like “Heaven gained another angel with the death of…”
Angels are spirit beings (Hebrews 1:14) but sometimes when they appear to humans they appear as flesh and blood men (the Bible always refers to angels as men, it never describes a female angel). We don’t know how they change to flesh-and-blood looking men when they appear on earth but suffice it to say that part of it is a mystery. Angels have personal will (otherwise Lucifer & Co. would not have fallen). They also have emotions.
But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him an abusive judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (Jude 1:9).
There seem to be hierarchies of angels, or, at least, different classes. They are referred to as “hosts” which is a way of organizing them militarily. Ephesians 6:12 says,
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
If you notice in Revelation, it is the angels who perform the judgments at God’s command. They carry it out. All through the Bible you begin to notice angels performing the commands of judgment God wants: slaying Israel in a plague and about to render wrath on Jerusalem (2 Samuel 24:16), and the Passover angel, destroying Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim and so on. They were also present at the creation, (Job 38:7), at the giving of the Law (Deuteronomy 33:2; Galatians 3:19).
Angels are spirit beings (Hebrews 1:14) but sometimes when they appear to humans they appear as flesh and blood men (the Bible always refers to angels as men, there are no female angels). We don’t know how they change to flesh and blood looking men when they appear on earth but suffice it to say that part of it is a mystery. Angels have personal will (otherwise Lucifer & Co. would not have fallen). They also have intelligence and emotions.
There are so many of them!
These superior beings are very numerous. “Thousand thousands,” etc. (Dan. 7:10; Matt. 26:53; Luke 2:13; Heb. 12:22, 23). They are also spoken of as of different ranks in dignity and power (Zech. 1:9, 11; Dan. 10:13; 12:1; 1 Thess. 4:16; Jude 1:9; Eph. 1:21; Col. 1:16).
(2.) As to their nature, they are spirits (Heb. 1:14), like the soul of man, but not incorporeal. Such expressions as “like the angels” (Luke 20:36), and the fact that whenever angels appeared to man it was always in a human form (Gen. 18:2; 19:1, 10; Luke 24:4; Acts 1:10). Source: Easton, M. G. (1893). In Illustrated Bible Dictionary and Treasury of Biblical History, Biography, Geography, Doctrine, and Literature.
The holy angels praise God, perform His will, minister to humans (remember the angel helping Elijah in 1 Kings 19:5-7), render His judgments, learn (“angels long to look into these things” 1 Peter 1:12), and so much more!
When you read your Bible, pay close attention to the activities of Angels. What’s incredible to me is that even though they are powerful enough to hold back the wind (Revelation 7:1), stand on the sun, (Revelation 19:17), and reap the entire earth in but a moment, (Revelation 14:16), we believers will judge them! (1 Corinthians 6:3 says, but probably only the unholy angels, and probably only to the extent we align with God on HIS pronouncement upon them).
A word of caution: Hebrews 13:2 says we entertain angels unaware. If as Revelation 12:3–4 seems to suggest that a third of the angels fell, and are now demons, isn’t there a 1 in 3 chance that when we entertain an angel it might be an unholy one, masquerading as righteous? (2 Corinthians 11:15). Maybe so.
Angels are powerful and majestic. Far from being little flying babies, remember that the first words of an angel appearance to a human is usually, ‘Fear not!’ Angels are terrifying. (Matthew 28:4, Matthew 28:5, Daniel 10:7). But the believer can take comfort in the fact that God sends the holy angels to help and comfort us, even when we are not aware. His sovereign care of His people, His Son’s Bride, is magnificent and perpetual. Angels are an interesting part of His creation, and we will see them one day! What a day that will be.