Sunday, February 04, 2018

Angels – God’s Heavenly Host

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Angels. They’ve been called God’s “secret agents” or even His “secret service,” yet when they have appeared they have often been anything but secret! They’ve been called God’s “mighty messengers,” though they seem to be focused also on worshiping and glorifying God. They’ve been pictured as chubby babies floating in the sky and playing harps, yet Scripture never describes them that way. When a person dies you may hear, “Heaven needed another angel,” but Jesus clearly taught that people do not become angels.
I like to preach about the spirit world and how it intersects with our own. Why?
1.   We must remember that there IS such a world. We often think and act only in terms of what we see, touch, taste, and feel for ourselves.
2.   We often warn about Satan and his demons. Without intending it, we might leave the idea that God is understaffed or that we are outnumbered!
3.   The Bible speaks frequently about angels. Angels are mentioned at least 108 times in the Old Testament and 165 times in the New Testament (Chafer, Systematic Theology, II, 3).
4.   There’s a mystery about creatures that are different from human beings. Even those in the world imagine what else might be out there.
5.   It’s a good conversation starter. “What do you think about angels and demons, and why?”
6.   We are curious. What does the Bible tell us about angels? How are they involved in our lives today?

There is so much in the Bible about angels that it’s hard to choose one text! And it’s impossible to cover the subject in one sermon!
One of the big surprises perhaps – angels, though in one sense of a higher order than we are, serve us.
Another surprise – Jesus, far above all angels, became for a while lower than the angels. To save us.
Another – the devil has angels.
Another – some angels have chosen to rebel and sin. Yet Jesus did not become an angel, to save angels. He became a man, to save us. Heb 2
Another – Satan may have been an angel who rebelled and became the prince of wicked angels, called demons.
Your Question
Mt 18:10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven.”
You asked me, “Does each child have an assigned guardian angel?”
Context of 18:1-14: God’s desire to uphold, save, protect and retrieve children, “these little ones who believe in Me,” and weak, erring sheep.
“Their angels” may have a role in all these areas, without be assigned one-to-one. Maybe a zone defense, not “man-to-man!” Cf. Ps 91, esp. 11-12.
Heb.מַלְאָךְ  malawk from root “to dispatch as a deputy.” Messenger, ambassador, angel. Used 213 times. Note: “Malachi” = “My messenger.”*
Cherubim – like winged sphinxes. Gen 3:24; 1 Kgs 6:23-28; Eze 1:4-14; 10:1-22; Rev 4:6-9.
Seraphim = “fiery, burning ones.” Only Isa 6:1-7. Each with six wings. “Holy, holy, holy …”
Grk. ἄγγελος  angelos from verb “to deliver a message.” Note: “evangelize” = “tell good news.”*
*Term can also refer to a human messenger.
Origin and Nature
Created beings: Neh 9:6; Ps 148:1-6; Col 1:16-17
Ministering spirits, not inherently physical: He 1:14
Heavenly army or host: Lk 2:13 only.
Innumerable: He 12:22 (myriads); Mt 26:53 (12 legions = 72,000); Re 5:11 (myriads of myriads = ten thousands of ten thousands).
Taking on the form, shape, and appearance suited to each particular task.
Origin and Nature
Described only in masculine terms, though …
No marriage, reproduction: Mt 22:30; Lk 20:34-36
Free to disobey: 2 Pe 2:4; Jud 6.
Never to die. 2 Pe 2:4; Jud 6.
Not eligible for salvation: Heb 2:14-18
Intrigued by our salvation: 1 Pe 1:12
Michael and Gabriel
The only two angels named. What about Satan?
Michael: Dan 10:13, 21; 12:1; Jud 9; Re 12:7
“Who is like God.” Question or statement.
“Archangel” = angel of the highest rank.
Special steward to care for Israel.
Gabriel: Dan 8:16; 9:21; Lk 1:19, 26
“Warrior of God, mighty man of God.”
Special messenger to God’s servants.
Function and Purpose
To serve, worship, and glorify God. Isa 6; Re 4-5
To announce God’s message. Lk 1
To accomplish God’s assignments. Re 7-10
To protect God’s people. Ps 91:11-13; Mt 18:10
To minister to God’s people. He 1:14
Function and Purpose
To frustrate the devil’s wiles. Jude 6
To punish wicked men. Gen 19:1-26; 2 Kgs 19:35; Acts 12:23
To preside over governments and councils. Dan 10:20, 21; 11:1; 12:1
To aid in bringing men to repentance. Acts 10
To care for living saints. Heb 1:14; 2 Kings 6:15-23; Ps 34:7; 91:11; Dan 3:25-28; 6:22; Matt 18:10; Acts 5:19; 12:7
To bear the dying home to glory. Luke 16:22
Was the “Angel of the Lord” Jesus? No, Because ...

Heb 1 emphatically insists Jesus is not an angel.
Angels are creatures. Jesus is (as God) Creator.
“Jehovah’s Witnesses” say that Jesus is an angel.
The OT looks forward to the Lord coming, as if He has not yet come to earth among men.
The arrival of Jesus via Mary loses its uniqueness if He previously came to earth by other means.
Jesus never claimed to be that angel.
No NT reference identifies Jesus with that angel.
We are to worship Jesus but not angels.

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