Angels are an amazing part of the created order

Angels figure very, very prominently in the NT. People don’t really know this, or they overlook angels in the created order. At the other end of the scale, some are so preoccupied with angels they nearly fall into angel worship.

In terms of the Providence of God, if Ezekiel’s wheels within wheels are a kind of visible/invisible machinery of providence (as Spurgeon described it in his sermon “God’s Providence” #3114), then perhaps the other angels are also a kind of visible/invisible machinery of God’s providence, like we glimpsed in Jacob’s ladder. (Genesis 28:12)

Dr RC Sproul has two lectures available on angels, part 1 & 2. He said the Greek word for angel appears in the NT more often than does the Greek word for sin (hamartanó). It also appears more often than the Greek word for love (agape).

Chris Koelle Book of Revelation Graphic Novel

Sproul taught from Hebrews and Colossians and also 2 Kings, and said it was obvious given the texts devoted them that there had been a problem in the first century of people giving them junior deity status and ascribing worship to them, with even Paul & Silas being mistaken for angels.

But with all the warnings not to overestimate angels in their position, neither does the NT deny the importance of them, Sproul said.

He also said something interesting,

Part of the problem we have with angels, is that we tend to associate angels with the supernatural realm. We think of the angels as being a supernatural being. In one sense it is correct to call angels a supernatural being. In another sense it’s quite dangerous to refer to them as supernatural beings, because the one thing that’s clear in the scriptures about the nature of angels is that they belong to nature. They belong to the created order. Angels are not divine. Angels are creatures, part of the original creation that God made. In THAT sense, angels are natural beings.

The reason they are looked at as supernatural beings is because of their constituent nature. The bible tells us they are creatures, but they differ from us and animals and plants in that their nature is a spirit nature rather than a physical or a material nature. Because they are spirit beings under normal circumstances, they remain invisible to the naked eye. Unless they manifest themselves in a kind of angelophany, their basic nature is invisible, dwelling in a realm that is invisible to us.

RC Sproul

Sproul said, how often do we think of angels? Of course we’re not to adore them, or be preoccupied with them, but we are to give them due meditation, as they are an important part of the order and are referred to frequently in the bible. He said we need to be thinking about why there is such a heavy concentration of angels at certain times in history.

This was something that was brought to my attention back some years when I listened to John MacArthur preach through Revelation. It was an eye-opening series in many ways.

Sproul’s lectures focused on the angels as messengers and angels as ministering spirits. But that is not all they are. Angels are also vehicles of Judgment. It is angels who mainly bring the judgments of Revelation. For example,

Then I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. … Now the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to blow them. The first angel blew his trumpet, and there followed hail and fire, mixed with blood, and these were thrown upon the earth. And a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up. (Revelation 8:2, 6-7)

In addition to angels being part of the machinery of God’s providence, messengers, ministering agents, judgment-bringers, they are also warriors.

Archangel Michael fighting the Dragon, Durer 1497

Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven (Revelation 12:7)

When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. (2 Kings 6:15-17)

Angels are an amazing part of the created order! I recommend both of the Sproul lectures. They are about 25 minutes each.

RC Sproul: Angels Part 1
RC Sproul: Angels part 2

Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones also has a series on angels, here
S. Lewis Johnson preached about angels from Hebrews 1:4-6, Angels Worship the Son!
John MacArthur preached “Angels- God’s Invisible Army

Enjoy learning about angels, our ministering helpers, messengers of God, fighters against evil for our Holy Trinity.

Angels we have heard on high

You know this Christmas hymn, I’m sure:

“Angels we have heard on high”
Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly singing o’er the plains,
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their joyous strains.
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!

Now the bible isn’t saturated with information about angels but there is a good bit of information about them. They are created beings whose created purpose was to minister to humans. (Hebrews 1:14). When they were created, we do not know. They also serve the Lord at His throne, so they could have been created billions of years ago as we count our time, or they could have been created just before He made humans. We do know that at the three critical junctures of God’s revealed plan for the world, they burst into song, proclamation, and exhortation, in jubilation of the work that God is doing. They burst through the veil between earth and highest heaven, to make His work known.

They sang as God laid the foundation of the world, referred to here as they often were, as the “sons of God”:

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding, Who set its measurements? Since you know. Or who stretched the line on it? On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone when the morning stars sang together And all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (Job 38:4-7)

They proclaimed when Jesus was born: 

“In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. “This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,  “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” (Luke 2:8-14)

And finally, angels will exhort during the Tribulation. Three of them will fly around the earth  preaching and exhorting and warning:

“Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth–to every nation, tribe, language and people. A second angel followed and said, “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great,’which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries.” A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives its mark on their forehead or on their hand, they, too, will drink the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. ” (Revelation 14:6-10a)

Three times they burst in, at the beginning, the middle and the end of this age. God cares for us SO much, He created angels to minister to us before He even made us, or the world. He cares for us so much that He sent His son to satisfy the sin debt and make a way for us to be with Him. He cares for us so much He sends angels to warn and proclaim the gospel to every creature on earth. He is a mighty God and a Loving God.

I hope that your eternal destination to be with Him is secure. I hope that you have recognized His holiness and our sinfulness, and asked Him forgiveness for your sins. Otherwise, the default destination for you is to receive your wish: permanent separation from him in hell. Hell was originally designed for Lucifer and the fallen angels, (Mt 25:41) but he widened its mouth to receive those humans who would also rebel against Him in refusing the remedy of Jesus’ forgiveness. (Is 5:14). Instead, because of Jesus’ birth as a babe, His sinless life on earth, His obedient death, and miraculous resurrection- we can sing in exultation that we are saved! We are His!

Gloria in Excelsis Deo! Glory to God in the highest!

About entertaining angels unawares

Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. (Hebrews 13:2 KJV)

From the bible, we know that God created angels. (Colossians 1:16-17) We know that angels interact with humans at the behest of God. (Luke 1:26-38) They deliver messages. (Daniel 9:20-23). They fight for territory. (Daniel 10:20). They guard humans (Matthew 18:10) and report to God on the actions of children, anyway (Matt. 18:1-14) and perhaps to individually minister to adult Christians also (Hebrews 1:14). Angels are divided into hierarchies and troops,  including both good and evil angels, and special categories such as cherubim, seraphim, and the archangel. They are invisible. (2 Kings 6:17). They look like men sometimes, (Gen 18:1-2) and other times they look like glory (Matthew 28:2-4) and other times they look like metal and lightning (Daniel 10:5-6) and still there are other angels who look completely unusual and beyond description (Revelation 4:6-8). [For the record, with one debatable exception, angels are not biblically described as having any wings]

Surely, it is a blessing that there is a class of created being whom God uses for His glory and for our help. It is a blessing also to think that we may entertain one of them at some point in our lives!

But do not forget, there is another class of angels. There was a rebellion in heaven, and the highest angel, one created to guard the throne itself, tried to vault himself above God and was kicked out of heaven for it. His name is Lucifer, whose title is now the devil, adversary, satan. And even though a third of the multitudes of angels lived with God, and saw His glory and knew His heart, Lucifer was apparently so convincing that they sided with him against God, and so they were kicked out too. (Revelation 12:3-4,9)

Not everything supernatural is from God! If you entertain angels unawares, it may be a good angel sent to minister to you. Or it may be a fallen angel, sent by satan to thwart you, deceive you, or hinder you. ( also 1 Tim.4:1-3; 2 Cor.11:13-15) “And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15)

If you are reading this before the rapture, Christian and non-believer, be aware that deceit comes in a guise wrapped in a beautiful package. Fallen angels would look just like the glorious angels, as stated above in the Corinthians verse. If you are a Christian, you should be praying daily to receive wisdom, and it will be given to you without reproach. You should be in the Word daily so that you will know the truth from a lie. If you are a non-believer reading this after the rapture, know that your odds of learning the truth have diminished but you can pray to Jesus to forgive you of your sins (if you are truly sorry for your bad acts and thoughts, that is) and He will forgive you. He will send the Holy Spirit to you to help you discern the truth from a lie. Without His help, you are at the mercy of an adversary who can and does ‘appear to us unawares’ and always for the purpose of destroying us!

NOT EVERYTHING SUPERNATURAL IS FROM GOD! “The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders,” (2 Thessalonians 2:9). Angels might surround you unawares, but YOU should not be unaware of satan and his angels’ counterfeiting abilities!