2003-05-11 - Angels
The Doctrine of Angels Part 1 ~ Introduction
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?"
This illustration was taken from Billy Grahams book on angels. It certainly
sounds familiar, doesnt 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. "Dont 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 servants 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,
Gods Secret Agents by Billy Graham. 1 Graham, Billi, Angels,
Gods 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.
First, we must start with one basic truth: Angels, Gods creation, include
angels, demons and Satan. These beings are all angels. That being the case,
it couldnt 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,
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.
Now we are going to look at some of the basic truths regarding angels in
general, and specifically the righteous angels.
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 earths 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 cornerstonewhile the morning stars sang together and
all the angels shouted for joy? (Job 38:4-7).
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 arent.
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 dont reproduce
and they dont 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 Gods
children, since they are children of the resurrection (Luke 20:34-36).
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
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.
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CFD | May 2003
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