ANGELS – Part 4
By Tommy Thornhill
Now let’s notice the order of angels. The Bible speaks of an Archangel in 1.Thes.4:16; Jude 9; Rev.12:7, and his name is Michael (who is like God). In the OT he is “one of (indicating more than one) the chief princes,” and is referred to as “the great prince” Dan.10:13, 21; 12:1. The idea, “one of the chief princes,” means he was of the first order of angels. In Daniel he is portrayed as a defender of the people of Israel, leading other angels against the forces of Satan. The only other angel named in the Bible is Gabriel (man of God) Dan.8:16; 9:21; Lk.1:11,19,26. Gabriel was not a trumpet player as some want to portray him today. He was a deliverer of messages, to Daniel, Zacharias, Mary. Some have suggested since he announced the 1st coming of Christ, why not the 2nd. This thought might be the reason where the idea of him being a trumpet player comes from, since Jesus’ second coming is to be announced by the sound of a trumpet 1.Thes.4:16). In my study I found Jewish tradition (I forgot to write down the source) claiming there were at least 4 archangels, Michael, Gabriel, Uriel (one who calls the judgment), Raphael (receives the dead). The apocryphal lists 6 or 7. Note Rev.8:2. (7 angels).
The Bible also speaks of elect angels 1.Tim.5:21. They are not identified, but they were of the higher spiritual creation, the non-physical. It could be that they are the angels in the inner circle around the throne of God, maybe the cherubim of Gen.3:22-24; or the seraphim or 4 living creatures of Isa.6:1-2; Ezek.1, 10; Rev.4-5. They are there to supervise worship and praise to God. All of these things suggest a ranking of angels, but all with the one purpose, that of serving and praising God. One thing we know, all of them are a joyful, praiseful group.
While angels are of a different order and not earth-bound as we human are, they are still part of the family of God. Note Eph.3:14-15. “For this reason, I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.” From this scripture we learn two things. 1. God has a family. 2. Part of His family is on the earth, and part of His family is in heaven. The part of God’s family in heaven are the higher spiritual creation, the beings identified as angelic in nature, who worship and serve Him. They reside in what the Bible refers to as “the heavenly places” or more correctly, “the heavenlies” Eph.1:3, 20; 2:6; 3:10; 6:12. This is the realm of spiritual beings, the non-physical reality that reaches beyond this planet we know as earth.
The part of God’s family in heaven would be the higher spiritual creation, the beings identified as angelic in nature, who worship and serve Him. Among them are the four living creatures, the twenty-four elders and the myriad host of angels Rev.4:4, 11; 5:11. I believe this would also include the spirits of just men made perfect Heb. 12:22-23. These just men are not angels but dwell among them after they die.
People may wonder why God created angels to begin with. I must confess my ignorance of this for God never fully explained the why. Just accept the fact He did it. We may never fully understand how they work in God’s creation, but I am fully persuaded He did not create them simply to be ornaments or decorations like we see angel statues as perceived by men, to be placed in a garden or on some building. one thing is certain. God created them for a much greater reason, to be used by Him to fulfill His designs and purposes. He created them to be His active divine agents, to heed His voice and do His pleasure Ps.148:1-5; 103:20-21. They work to serve and praise Him, acting on His behalf to carry out His will, designs and purposes.
Let me reemphasize a point I made earlier. God is still an active God. He may be INVISIBLE, but He is NOT INACTIVE. He is not impotent or helpless. He is not, as some might think, a “hands off” God in the affairs of mankind today. His involvement with, and providential care for mankind, did not end with the end of the age of miracles. He is still in control of this universe, and still acts on behalf of His predetermined purposes and promises. He still cares for, provides for, and protects His creation, using His angels in so doing. He has not retired Dan. 4:17, 32; Matt.5:45; Acts 17:26; Heb.1:3; Col.1:17.
From the very beginning we see angels acting to carry out the will of God. After Adam and Eve sinned God utilized angels to stand guard at the Garden of Eden to keep them from the tree of life. We are told He placed cherubim (angels), holding flaming swords, to guard “the way to the tree of life” Gen.3:24. We also learn that angels are stationed at the gates of heaven Rev.21:12. We see angels working for God in the book of Daniel where they were assigned to function in connection with various nations. We see them working in the book of Revelation to oversee the abyss and guard the gates of heaven. Why would we think that God and His angels are no longer active in the affairs of this world and in our own lives.
God uses agents, some human, some divine, to carry out His work. He sent His Son Jesus Christ to save lost men and women. He sent the Holy Spirit to reveal His work and purposes to mankind. He sent the apostles and prophets to speak and record His word, telling men how to be saved. He also uses angels to bring about His holy purposes, aiding mankind, even if I don’t know how it is being done.
Ps. 78:49-51 tells of God sending angels of destruction to punish. Ex. Sodom Gen.19, plagues in Egypt Ex.14:19; with David 1.Chron.21:11-17; the Assyrians Isa.37:35-37 (185,000 killed). In the NT, Herod Acts 12:21-23. There will be angels involved in the second. Coming of Christ Matt.13:41-42.
This will be continued next issue.
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