Angels

  1. Who are angels?  What relationship do we have to them today?  Do we have guardian angels?  Here are some facts we know about angels:  - From the Holman New Testament Commentary - Hebrews 1, VI. Deeper Discoveries D. Firstborn (v. 6), pg. 17. 
    1. 1)  An angel is a divine messenger who protected Christians (Heb. 1:14), delivered a message to human beings (Luke 2:10-14), and provided guidance (Matt 1:20).
    2. 2)  Angels appear to be active today, but they often do their work invisibly (2 Kgs. 6:17).  They still serve those who will inherit salvation (Heb. 1:14).  They sometimes appear in human form (Judg. 6:11-24).  Some of them appear as winged creatures. (Isa 6:2).
    3. 3)  Jesus' comment in Matthew 18:10 has led some to feel that God assigns individual protective roles to angels.  It is difficult to prove this passage to each person has a "guardian" angel assigned by God.
    4. 4)  Angels are created beings (Ps. 148:2,5), but they have superior intelligence and wisdom (2 Sam. 14:17).  They do not know everything (1 Pet. 1:12).  Because they are spiritual beings, they can move back and forth from the spiritual realm to the physical without hindrance.
    5. 5)  God created angels holy (Gen. 1:31), but some angels later rebelled (Jude 6).  Good angels are called "the holy angels" (Luke 9:26).  They worship and serve God.  God will cast evil angels "into the eternal fire, prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matt. 25:41).
    6. The fact that God has given angels to protect us should give us much comfort.  We praise God and not angels for protection, guidance and understanding. 
  2. Just as Solomon secured the safety of his bride until she reached his home (3:7-8), so our Savior has provided for our security until we reach His home in heaven. We are guarded and protected by the angels of God Himself, the mightiest and noblest of God’s creation. God’s Holy Word assures us that His angels serve and protect us.
    “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven” (Mt. 18:10).
    “And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried” (Lu. 16:22).
    “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” (He. 1:14).
    “And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha” (2 K. 6:15-17).
    “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book” (Da. 12:1). 
    - From the reading about Song of Solomon 4:1 in the Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible Old and New Testament Commentary Set (44-Volumes) - by Alpha-Omega Ministries, Publisher: Leadership Ministries Worldwide
  3. “And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever” (Re. 5:11-14). - From the reading about Song of Solomon 4:1 in the Preacher’s Outline and Sermon Bible Old and New Testament Commentary Set (44-Volumes) - by Alpha-Omega Ministries, Publisher: Leadership Ministries Worldwide
  4. There were also angelic messengers. The English word angel is etymologically related to the Greek word angelos, whose translation is similar to the Hebrew: “messenger” or “angel.” The angel is a supernatural messenger of the Lord sent with a particular message. Two angels came to Lot at Sodom: “And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground...” (Gen. 19:1). The angels were also commissioned to protect God’s people: “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways” (Ps. 91:11).
    Third, and most significant, are the phrases mal‘ak Yahweh,“the angel of the Lord,” and mal‘ak ‘elohim,“the angel of God.” The phrase is always used in the singular. It denotes an angel who had mainly a saving and protective function: “For mine angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites: and I will cut them off” (Exod. 23:23). He might also bring about destruction: “And David lifted up his eyes, and saw the angel of the Lord stand between the earth and the heaven, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders of Israel, who were clothed in sackcloth, fell upon their faces” (1 Chron. 21:16).
    The relation between the Lord and the “angel of the Lord” is often so close that it is difficult to separate the two (Gen. 16:7ff.; 21:17ff.; 22:11ff.; 31:11ff.; Exod. 3:2ff.; Judg. 6:11ff.; 13:21f.). This identification has led some interpreters to conclude that the “angel of the Lord” was the pre-incarnate Christ. - Excerpt from the definition of “ ngels" in the Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary
  5. Angels belong to heaven (Gen 28:12; Job 2:1-2; Ps 148:1-2; Isa 24:21), but can come to earth as Yahweh’s servants, indistinguishable from humans. (They do not fly, contrary to common representation in Christian art.) Abraham “saw three men” (Gen 18:2). Yet the narrative states that Abraham negotiates directly with Yahweh concerning Sodom’s fate (Gen 18:22-33). How or when he knew his visitors were not human is unclear. Jacob wrestled with “a man” (Gen 32:24, 30), while Gideon recognized his visitor’s identity only when the angel made fire consume the meal Gideon prepared (Judg 6:21-22). Joshua, seeing a man with sword in hand, had to be told this was the commander of Yahweh’s army (Josh 5:13-15). Manoah and his wife initially were unaware they were speaking with an angel (Judg 13:16, 19-20).
    Angels are creatures (Ps 148:1-6). As mighty ones (gibbore khoakh [כֹחַ גִּבֹּרֵי]; Ps 103:20) doing God’s bidding, they surpass humans in power and wisdom (2 Sam 14:17, 20). But despite their superiority to humans, angels are not to be worshiped (Josh 5:14); but they worship Yahweh (Pss 29:1-2; 103:21; 148:2). While usually only one or two encounter humans, angels are so numerous they are “the host of heaven” (1 Kgs 22:19; Pss 103:19-21; 148:2) and “God’s camp” (Gen 32:1-2 [Heb. 32:2-3]). Myriads come with Yahweh from Sinai (Deut 33:2; Ps 68:17 [Heb. 68:18]).
    Angels were primarily messengers, sometimes reporting to God about humans (Job 1:6; 2:1), but typically conveying messages from Yahweh. An angel promised Hagar many descendants (Gen 16:7-16; 21:17-19), instructed Abraham not to harm Isaac (Gen 22:11-14), and told Jacob to leave Laban (Gen 31:11-13). Angels announced Sodom’s destruction (Gen 19:12-13) and the births of Isaac (Gen 18:10) and Samson (Judg 13:3). An angel was present at Moses’ call to lead Israel out of Egypt (Exod 3:2). The commander of Yahweh’s army confronted Joshua before the attack on Jericho (Josh 5:13-15), and an angel told Gideon Yahweh would deliver Israel from Midian (Judg 6). Elijah was given a message for Samaria (2 Kgs 1:3-4).
    Beyond this basic role, angels acted more broadly as Yahweh’s envoys, accomplishing specific tasks. The pestilence Yahweh sent following David’s sin was executed by an angel (2 Sam 24:16-17), as was the rout of the Assyrians (2 Kgs 19:35). Consequently, angels can be called “destroying angels” (Ps 78:49). - Excerpt from the definition of “Angels” in The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, Complete Set (5 Vols.) 
  6. Spiritual beings. Angels are spirits, supernatural celestial beings. The author of Hebrews asks, “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?” (Heb. 1:14). They are more than personifications of abstract good and evil; angels are majestic beings whom God created to execute his will (Ps. 148:2 – 5; Col. 1:16). They are therefore active in a multiplicity of universal operations. They were created at a time that long antedates the creation of man (Job 38:7). Being spirits, angels can function as mediators between God and human beings. They can pass back and forth from the spiritual realm to the natural at will, unimpeded by physical boundaries (Acts 12:7). Angels are superhuman in strength: “. . . even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not bring slanderous accusations against such beings in the presence of the Lord” (2 Pet. 2:11). Yet, they are not omnipotent (Ps. 103:20; 2 Thess. 1:7). Angels are also endowed with superior intellect and wisdom (2 Sam. 14:17, 20), but are not omniscient (Matt. 24:36; 1 Pet. 1:12). - Excerpt from the definition of “Angels” from the Zondervan  Encyclopedia of the Bible (5 Vols).
  7. II. Classification and names. Angels were created holy (cf. Gen. 1:31), and like men were apparently given freedom of choice in attitude and action during a probationary period (cf. Jude 6). Some chose to worship and serve God and some rebelled, creating two major divisions of angels.
    A. Good angels. Good angels are called “the holy angels,” “the angels of God,” “angels in heaven,” “his powerful angels” (Lk. 9:26; 12:8; Heb. 1:6; Matt. 16:27; 22:30; 24:31; 2 Thess. 1:7). Of these good angels only two are mentioned by name in the Bible. First, Michael is called the archangel by Jude (v. 9), while in the book of Daniel the messenger angel called him “one of the chief princes” (Dan. 10:13). In Rev. 12:7 – 8 Michael is portrayed as the commander of the army of good angels who defeated and expelled the bad angels from heaven.
    Second, Gabriel appears to be the chief messenger angel. He announced the forthcoming births of John the Baptist and of Jesus (Lk. 1:13, 31). He also interpreted Daniel’s dream and on the same mission delivered God’s decree (Dan. 8:15 – 27). Josephus, Flavius (War 2.8.7) stated that the initiation oath of the Essenes included the pledge to preserve the names of angels. This interest in angels is illustrated in the Dead Sea Scrolls, which show the emphasis the Qumranites placed on the later Jewish writings, where angels figure prominently. For example, the apocryphal book of 1 Enoch contains an interesting list of angel names. Each of the names is followed by the phrase “one of the holy angels” (which for the sake of brevity is omitted in the following quotation): “And these are the names of the holy angels who watch: Uriel . . . who is over the world and over Tartarus; Raphael . . . who is over the spirits of men; Raguel . . . who takes care of the world of the luminaries; Michael . . . is set over the best part of mankind and over chaos; Saraqael . . . is set over the spirits who sin in the spirit; Gabriel . . . is over paradise and the serpents and the cherubim; Remiel . . . whom God set over those who rise” (1 En. 20). Good angels will continue their blissful existence with God and his elect in the future age.
    B. Bad angels. Bad angels consist of “the devil and his angels.” It appears that their habitation was for some time in heaven, but they proved unfaithful to their trust and were driven out of heaven down to earth by the holy angels (cf. Rev. 12:7 – 12). The apostasy of the angels must have taken place before man’s creation, for Satan as the serpent caused Adam and Eve to sin in the Garden of Eden. Out of the group of degenerate angels Satan emerged as the chief exponent of evil and wickedness. The Pharisees called him Beelzebub, “the prince of demons” (Matt. 12:24). Jesus said that the devil was a murderer, a liar, and the father of lies (Jn. 8:44). Paul said that Christians are contending “against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 6:12). Bad angels will in the end be cast “into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41). The nebulous passage of Gen. 6:1 – 5, showing the increase of wickedness as man multiplied, is translated in various ways. One of the oldest commentaries on the subject is an elaborate account of the same story in 1 Enoch. In its mythological account an attempt is made to solve the problem of sin by attributing it to marriages between lustful angels and earthly women (1 En. 15:9 – 16). See sons of God. - Excerpt from the definition of “Angels” from the Zondervan  Encyclopedia of the Bible (5 Vols).