ANGELS – Part 1

By Tommy Thornhill

Do you believe in Angels? I know I do even though I have never seen one unless i saw one unawares Heb.13:2. In case you didn’t know, there is more said in the Bible about angels than demons. Angels are mentioned ca. 294 times in 34 books of the Bible, at least 108 times in 17 OT books, and 186 times in the NT. Much can be learned about the work of angels with some study, yet it is a subject little studied and seldom preached. When is the last time you ever read or heard the subject of angels taught?  Since I believe it to be a proper subject of study, I am writing a series on it in this paper starting with this one

From a study of the scriptures, we learn that angels are spiritual beings created by God Psa.148:1, 5. Even though we are not told when they were created, I believe they were created by God at the beginning to assist Him in His work of Creation and the governing of that which He had created. They were certainly involved in God’s providential care for His people 2 Kgs 18-19. We see them being active as His agents of destruction and in bringing blessings to man Gen.19:13, 16. We can learn from scripture they were created on a higher plane than man Heb.2:7 and differ from man in that they neither reproduce nor die Lk.20:35-36. While some may disagree, I truly believe they still function in this capacity even today.

Today it seems that many are like the Sadducees in Jesus’ day who didn’t believe in angels Acts 23:8. Many have assumed that because miracles have ceased, God’s angels are no longer in business today. This would seem to be an obvious contradiction of Hebrews, which says angels are “ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation” Heb.1:13-14.

While we are no longer living in the miraculous age, this doesn’t mean that God is no longer exercising control over His creation. In Matt.5:45, the Bible teaches the general providence of God, and in Matt.6:33, the child of God is taught to trust in God’s specific providence toward His children. In Rom.8:28-31, we are taught that “all things work together for good to them that love God.” Does this not suggest God’s providential care? 

We do not live in a totally chance universe. Both Heb.1:3 and Col.1:17 make it perfectly clear that God’s creation has not been left to mere chance. God is still in control. God still rules in the kingdoms of men and this is verified by such passages as Rom.13; Acts 17:26; Daniel 4:17, 32. To believe, as some do, that God has taken on a ‘hands-off’ position with reference to the affairs of mankind is not only a contradiction of Scripture, but is tantamount to dethroning Jesus Christ, who now reigns as King of kings Rev.1:5; Eph.1:20-21.

To me, with my belief in angels, it is comforting to know that angels as God’s secret, invisible agents are sent forth by God to minister unto us Heb.1:14; Eph.1:18-19. Our prayers to God are not exercises in futility, but are, in fact, requests based on a faith that God can and will help us, and that angels are His agents assisting Him in these matters. We have a great example of angels working for God in the case of Elijah 1.Kgs.19:4-8.

Paul prayed that Christians would have the eyes of their understanding enlightened so that they could see “the exceeding greatness of His power to usward who believe” Eph. 1:18-19. If we will, by faith, open our eyes, we can see that “they that be with us are more than they that be with them” (2 Kgs 6:16. I may not know exactly how they minister to us, but I certainly believe they do so.

As I begin this study more in depth, let me first clear up some misconceptions that people have. Over the years people have come up with several ridiculous, foolish ideas which may sound good but often gender strife and confusion 1.Tim.4:7; 2.Tim.2:16; Tit.3:9.

Some think angels no longer function today. As already stated I believe they function today even though they are invisible. Keep in mind God is also invisible but not inactive (if inactive, why pray?) Angels help to explain God’s providence (His care and concern for His creation, including mankind.

Another misconception is the idea that angels have wings, halos, and harps. The Bible does not teach this. These idea simply show that artists with their imagination have more influence on man that God’s word.  The only exceptions of wings are with the Cherubim and Seraphim. Cherubim surround the mercy seat Ex.25:18-20 (2 wings); Ezek.10:21. (4 wings, 4 faces). Seraphim Isa.6:2 (3 sets of wings, 2 covering face (displaying humility) 2 covering feet (showing reverence) 2 to fly with (to praise God and communicate to man) Isa.6:6.  Possibly also the 4 living creatures around God’s throne Rev.4:8.

Often we see angels pictured as women. Yet, in the Bible when angels appeared to humans they appeared as men with men’s names. Actually angels are sexless Matt.22:29-32; Lk.20:35-37.  That is one reason why I do not believe “the sons of God” in Gen.6:4 were angels marrying the “daughters of men.” Rather “the sons of God” were righteous ones (descendants of Seth Gen.5) being led astray by the wicked daughters of men (descendants of Cain Gen.4:16-26).

A fourth misconception is that angels have no bodies Lk.24:39. It is true they are spirit beings Heb.1:14, but they have form 1.Cor.15:40-44; Heb.12:22 (company). Yes, they are invisible to the naked eye Num.22:23-32; 2.Kgs.6:14-17 but can assume human form when necessary1.Sam.13:6; Matt.28:3; Lk.24:4, 23; Acts 1:10-11.

Out of space. This will be continued next issue.

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