The Angels of God
“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.”
II Kings 6:16-17
“And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.”
II Kings 19:35
“The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.”
“Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?”
- There are several good reasons why I have chosen to preach on the subject of angels this morning.
- We are at the midpoint of studying Ephesians, and a one-week break will not hurt us at all.
- We have already encountered the Lord Jesus Christ’s promotion over all the angels (Ep 1:20-23).
- We have already encountered God’s intention to show them His wisdom by the church (Ep 3:10), and we saw their curiosity about salvation and their role as our servants (I Pet 1:12; Heb 1:14).
- A special forces commander in Afghanistan wrote this week about four soldiers losing their lives in a rocket attack, to which I responded with a short lesson about the angels of God.
- Angels are a legitimate field of Bible study, and practical benefits can be gained from the lesson.
- Consider a little military history from a Bible standpoint that West Point knows nothing about.
- There were more angels protecting Elisha than Syrians surrounding the city (II Kings 6:16-17).
- One angel easily killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers when surrounding Jerusalem, and God sent this angel after Hezekiah reminded the people of Elisha’s event (II Kgs 19:35; II Chron 32:7).
- A prophet gave us a glimpse into heaven at an angelic military strategy meeting (I Kgs 22:19-23).
- There were four empires – Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome (Dan 2:36-40; 7:3-7; 8:3-8,20-22).
- Yet few understand that angels – bad and good – influenced the empires (Daniel 10:13,20-21).
- Nebuchadnezzar knew that God ruled in the army of heaven – the angelic host (Daniel 4:35).
- And he also knew that it was angels – watchers and holy ones – that judged him (Dan 4:13,17).
- God is called the Lord of hosts 235 times in the Bible, because He is the King of the angelic armies.
- Consider a few of these places (Pr 24:10; Is 6:3; 8:13; 37:16; 54:5; Jer 32:18; Zec 1:3; Mal 1:14).
- When we read of God hiding us in His pavilion, now you can grasp the army that surrounds it!
- The angel of the Lord protects and delivers the children of God who fear the Lord (Psalm 34:7).
- Children have angels; we worship with angels today; and angels will hopefully carry us to heaven.
- As New Testament Christians in the kingdom of Jesus Christ, we are in close fellowship with innumerable angels, who were created to be our servants (Heb 1:7,14; 12:22-24).
- But more than anything else, we want to exalt the Lord Jesus Christ as the Head of the angelic armies.
- After ascending into heaven, Jesus was promoted over all the angels (I Peter 3:22; Eph 1:20-22).
- They were created by Him and for Him, and they worship Him (Colossians 1:16; Rev 5:11-12).
- However, not everything called an “angel” in the Bible refers to the created spirits of this study.
- The ministers of the seven churches of Asia were referred to as angels (Revelation 1:20; 2:1; 3:1).
- God is referred to sometimes as an angel (Gen 16:7-14; 22:11-18; Exodus 3:2-14; Joshua 5:15).
Angels Are a Matter of Faith
- Most men live by their five senses, never grasping anything more important than what they can see, hear, taste, smell, or touch. They never think higher than a newspaper or a hotdog.
- Seeing may be believing for temporal things of life, but faith overrides sight (II Cor 5:7).
- It is the duty and privilege of God’s children to look on invisible things (II Cor 4:18).
- Men that live by their senses only are no better than brute beasts, yet will face God for it.
- Faith in God’s word is absolutely necessary to have evidence of unseen angels (Heb 11:1).
- Angels are not seen unless (a) God opens eyes specially or (b) they assume visible forms.
- For those believing God’s ability and word, we may have full persuasion (Rom 4:17-21).
- We believe the Bible is God’s word by faith He has given us and its internal evidence.
- As the liberal Sadducees of old, many today do not consider the reality of angels (Acts 23:8).
- Yet, we must be careful of intruding into things like angels beyond our means (Col 2:18-19).
- Some have tried to show their voluntary humility by exalting creatures lower than God.
- Paul chose to leave a particular explanation of the cherubims on the mercyseat (Heb 9:5).
The Nature of Angels
- Angels have a different nature from men, and Jesus Christ took on human nature (Heb 2:16).
- Angels do not have flesh and blood like a man, for they are invisible spirits (Heb 2:14).
- Angels are not pudgy little babies with wings, halos, and pink skin, who play little horns.
- Angels are not effeminate Hollywood actors playing gentle and sheepish roles in dramas.
- Catholic and pagan theology and art have had great influence in distorting the truth.
- Jesus was made lower than angels, but He now reigns over them (Heb 2:9; I Pet 3:22).
- Angels are CREATED. Angels are not eternal beings; they began their existence at creation.
- God made His angels, spirits (Heb 1:7). When He made them, He made them spirits.
- The text does not say God made His angels’ spirits; rather He made them spirit beings.
- He commanded their creation (Ps 148:1-6). It happened before Genesis 1:1 (Job 38:6-7).
- Whether visible or invisible things, God has created all things for Himself (Col 1:16).
- Only God is the great I AM THAT I AM. Every other creature is “I am what God made.”
- Angels are SPIRITS. They do not have flesh, bone, and blood bodies, like human beings.
- God made His angels spirits; He did not make them men (Ps 104:4; Heb 1:7; Matt 8:16).
- Our warfare against Satan and his host is not against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:11-12).
- Men are a lower order of beings, having been made a little lower than angels (Heb 2:9).
- And men have flesh and blood bodies, which angels do not have inherently (Heb 2:14).
- Angels have a WILL. They were once able to choose to disobey the God that created them.
- Consider the various suggestions angels offered to get Ahab into battle (I Kgs 22:19-23).
- Some angels kept not their first estate, but they instead sinned against God (Job 4:18).
- Those that left their first estate are held in chains for judgment (II Pet 2:4; Jude 1:6).
- The eternal fire of the second death was prepared for Satan and his angels (Matt 25:41).
- Those that did not leave their first estate are reserved in holiness (I Tim 5:21; Rev 14:10).
- The elect and holy angels are those that hearken to God’s word (Ps 103:20; Matt 6:10).
- No wonder angels are curious about salvation! Though greater, they lost out (I Pet 1:12).
- Angels have NAMES. They are not impersonal spirits, but have their own wills and names.
- Gabriel was a messenger to Daniel, Zacharias, and Mary (Dan 8:16; 9:21; Luke 1:19,26).
- Michael the archangel is one of the chief rulers of the elect angelic host of heaven.
- Archangel. An angel of the highest rank. Michael is a chief prince (Dan 10:13,21).
- Michael the archangel cannot be Jesus for several reasons, so he must be an angel.
- The Word of God was never one of the chief princes (Dan 10:13). He is King!
- Jesus did not exist for Daniel or Moses (Dan 9:25; Jude 1:9), but Michael did.
- Jesus rebuked the devil as his Lord (Matt 4:7), but Michael did not (Jude 1:9).
- The Lord will return soon with the voice of the archangel – Michael (I Thes 4:16).
- Angels are sometimes called the sons of God in scripture (Job 1:6; 38:7; Daniel 3:25,28).
- Angels are sometimes called saints – holy ones (Deut 33:2 cp Acts 7:53; Hebrews 2:2).
- This last fact leaves “saints” open to interpretation in places (I Thess 3:13; Jude 1:14), for Jesus Christ will return with believers and angels (Mark 8:38; I Thess 4:14; II Thess 1:7).
- Angels are INVISIBLE. One cannot be seen with natural vision unless he reveals himself.
- God opened Balaam’s and Elisha’s servant’s eyes to see (Num 22:22-35; II Kgs 6:13-18).
- Christ made all invisible things that are in heaven and earth, including angels (Col 1:16).
- They sometimes take to themselves physical bodies or their appearance to contact men.
- Angels are IMPRESSIVE. When seen as other than mere men, they usually evoke great fear.
- The appearance of the living creatures in Ezekiel 1:4-28 is definitely an impressive sight.
- They appear as chariots of fire (Ps 68:17; II Kings 6:17; II Kings 2:11 cp Luke 16:22).
- Their appearance shines like gold or white lightning (Ps 104:4; Dan 10:5-6; Matt 28:3).
- The impression of an angel in glorified form leaven an inferiority complex (Daniel 10:8).
- Their appearance is terrible (Judges 13:6; Matthew 18:1-8; Luke 1:11-12; Acts 10:4).
- Angels are IMMORTAL. They do not die bodily as we do: they are spirits without bodies.
- In the resurrection we shall be glorified like angels – without ability to die (Luke 20:36).
- God has independent immortality; men and angels depend on God (I Tim 6:16; Ex 3:14).
- Angels are CELIBATE. They do not marry nor have sexual distinction to consider marriage.
- Jesus taught that in the resurrection we shall be like angels – not marrying (Matt 22:30).
- Angels did not marry women in Genesis 6:1-2, the sons of Seth married pagan daughters.
- There is nothing about a human female that would attract an angel in any way at all.
- Eve was created from Adam’s rib, and she was made a help meet for him, not an angel.
- Angels are MASCULINE. Whenever they do appear in scripture, they appear as young men.
- When two angels visited Sodom, the dogs in town surely knew their gender (Gen 19:1-5).
- Gabriel, the messenger angel, is described by Daniel as the man Gabriel (Dan 9:21; 8:17).
- When the women went to Christ’s tomb, the angel they met was a young man (Mk 16:5).
- Angels are LOCATIONAL. They are not omnipresent as God with presence in many places.
- God fills heaven and earth, but angels come from heaven to earth (Jer 23:24; Luke 2:15).
- Angels move about from place to place (Daniel 10:13; Luke 1:19; Job 1:7; John 5:4).
- God may call them to His presence for general meetings (I Kings 22:19; cp Job 1:6; 2:1).
- They usually dwell in heaven in God’s presence (Matt 18:10; Luke 1:19; 2:15; Rev 5:11).
- The angel of the Lord encamps around those that fear Him (Psalm 34:7 cp II Kings 6:17).
- A great number of angels may be together in a small place – a man’s body (Luke 8:30).
- Angels are FAST. They are not omnipresent as is God, but they are able to move very fast.
- Gabriel flew swiftly from God to Daniel during the course of his prayer (Daniel 9:21).
- An angelic being that Ezekiel observed moved about as a bolt of lightning (Ezekiel 1:14).
- Angels are INTELLIGENT. They have their own intellectual capability: they are not robots.
- Consider the various suggestions angels offered to get Ahab into battle (I Kgs 22:19-23).
- The wise woman of Tekoah said David’s wisdom was like an angel’s (II Sam 14:17,20).
- However, they are not omniscient as is God: they knew not Christ’s coming (Matt 24:36).
- Angels are POWERFUL. They have much greater strength than men, but far less than God.
- Scripture describes them as mighty and excelling in strength (II Thes 1:7; Psalm 103:20).
- How many of Adam’s descendants ate of the tree of life? Do you know why (Gen 3:24)?
- When being solicited by Sodom’s dogs, they struck them with blindness (Genesis 19:11).
- The angel of the Lord killed 185,000 Assyrian solders in a single night (II Kings 19:35).
- The angel of the Lord in David’s time used germ warfare to kill 70,000 (I Chr 21:12-30).
- Angels are much more powerful than men, but they do not abuse the power (II Pet 2:11).
- A good angel closed lions’ mouths (Dan 6:22), and bad angels confused swine (Mk 5:13).
- When Zacharias did not believe Gabriel, he removed his power to speak (Luke 1:19-20).
- Satan was able to move the body of Jesus Christ around rather freely (Matthew 4:5,8).
- They can use human armies (Job 1:15,17), lightning (Job 1:16), and tornadoes (Job 1:19).
- They can inflict diseases on men (Job 2:7), and they are able to heal diseases (John 5:4).
- Many of the afflicted and diseased had spirits of infirmity (Mark 9:25; Luke 13:11), which cause us to wonder how many of the insane or ill have problems with spirits.
- Angels can communicate in dreams, as Jacob and Joseph (Gen 31:11; Mat 1:20; 2:13,19).
- Angels are INNUMERABLE. God’s angels are not just a few thousand or million, but many.
- Elisha comforted his servant that there were more with them than the army around the city, and Hezekiah comforted Jerusalem with the same thought (II Kgs 6:16; II Chr 32:7).
- This could easily be what David had in mind about many being with him (Psalm 55:18).
- Jesus spoke of twelve legions in Gethsemane – 72,000 by Roman standards (Matt 26:53).
- Daniel saw indefinitely more than 100 million before the Ancient of Days (Daniel 7:10).
- John wrote of seeing a host in heaven indefinitely larger than 100 million (Rev 5:11).
- Bildad described God’s armies as being without number (Job 25:3 cp Daniel 4:35).
- Paul said the kingdom of Christ includes an innumerable company of angels (Heb 12:22).
- When God is called the Lord of hosts, as He is 235 times, it is referring to Him as the King of this glorious army of mighty angels, in a similar way that human generals were called the captain of the host (I Kgs 16:16; II Kgs 5:1). Glory!
- Angels are ORGANIZED. They have authority and a hierarchy; they are not created equal.
- They are called principalities and powers, referring to their appointed authority and ranks.
- Consider the use of these designations (Ephesians 3:10; 6:12; Colossians 1:16; 2:15).
- Principality. In general, the position, dominion, rule, or government of a prince over a territory. In scripture, the angelic princes with great authority among the angels.
- Power. One with authority, rule, or government. Angels with control or government.
- These spiritual rulers are far above any flesh and blood humans we know, for Paul’s point is that we are not wrestling against flesh and blood in this conflict (Eph 6:12).
- They are called princes, which indicates their princely authority (Dan 10:13,20-21; 12:1; Matthew 9:34; 12:24; John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; Ephesians 2:2).
- Michael the archangel, a chief of the angelic princes, aided a weaker angel (Dan 10:13).
- By Michael’s action prior to the crucifixion, Satan was a greater angel than he (Jude 1:9).
- What thrones or dominions are invisible in heaven and earth, but the angels’ (Col 1:16)?
- A Roman legion included ten cohorts, thirty maniples, and sixty centuries (Matt 26:53).
- They are called principalities and powers, referring to their appointed authority and ranks.
- Angels are MEEK. They do not seek or allow their own worship, but they only worship God.
- Manoah asked an angel’s name to do him honor, but the angel refused (Judges 13:15-18).
- Paul warned specifically against voluntary humility and worship of angels (Col 2:18).
- Observe the response when John tried to worship the angel of prophecy (Rev 22:8-9).
- Angels are RESPECTFUL. They are very aware of different positions and level of authority.
- Michael the archangel did not bring a railing accusation against Satan himself (Jude 1:9).
- Angels do not even bring railing accusations against evil men before God (II Peter 2:11).
The Functions of Angels
- As men and all objects of creation, God made angels for His pleasure (Pr 16:4; Rev 4:11).
- Angels WORSHIP. Since God’s pleasure is the end of all creatures, we should expect this.
- The purpose for their existence is to worship, praise, and serve God (Psalm 148:2).
- The angels worshipped Christ at His birth by Divine command (Heb 1:6; Luke 2:8-14).
- They celebrated with song and joy when God laid the foundation of the earth (Job 38:7).
- They worship the Lord Jesus Christ with a song of their own in heaven (Rev 5:11-12).
- Angels REVEAL. God often used angels in the past to reveal His will to His servants.
- God gave the Law to Israel by angels (Deut 33:2; Ps 68:17; Ac 7:53; Gal 3:19; Heb 2:2).
- They were often used to reveal to the prophets (II Kgs 1:15; Dan 8:15-19; Zech 1:9-11).
- They were used to reveal things to the early church (Acts 8:26; 27:23; Revelation 1:1).
- With the more sure word of prophecy, we do not need such (I Cor 13:10; II Peter 1:19).
- Ungodly desire for the supernatural is sin (Deut 13:1-5; II Cor 11:13-15; II Thess 2:9).
- The Charismatics do not see the angels of God properly due to doctrine (Ezek 14:6-9).
- Angels MINISTER. God created angels as ministers: they are servants to both God and men.
- The angels that God created spirits were created to minister for the elect (Heb 1:13-14).
- The angels of God’s elect, especially children, are before God’s throne (Matthew 18:10).
- The angels rejoice in heaven before God over even one sinner that repents (Luke 15:10).
- They will be witnesses in heaven when Jesus confesses our names before them (Rev 3:5).
- The ministry of Jesus Christ was greatly supported by angelic presence (John 1:51).
- While there is no guardian angel per se, there are many angels who guard (Ps 91:9-11).
- Angels JUDGE. God often uses angels to execute His judgments against wicked men.
- The two angels that visited Sodom claimed the destruction of that city (Gen 19:12-13).
- God sent evil angels – angels executing evil – into Egypt (Psalm 78:49 cp II Sam 24:16).
- An angel of the Lord appeared to Israel and rebuked them at Bochim (Judges 2:1-5).
- The angel of God judged Jerusalem with pestilence after David’s sin (I Chr 21:12-27).
- Daniel heard prophecy of how Michael would stand up and judge Israel (Daniel 12:1).
- An angel destroyed Herod, when he took worship worthy only of God (Acts 12:21-23).
- The angels will assist in separating the just from the wicked (Matt 13:41-42; II Thes 1:7).
- Consider how David prayed for God to send His angels to defeat his enemies (Ps 35:1-6).
- Angels COMFORT. God often sends His angels to provide special relief and mercy to men.
- When Lot lingered in Sodom, angels in mercy pulled him out of the city (Gen 19:15-16).
- An angel called from heaven to comfort Hagar when fleeing from Sarah (Gen 21:14-21).
- When Jacob was going to meet Esau, God’s angels met him as a host (Genesis 32:1-2).
- When Elijah was near death fleeing from Jezebel, an angel helped him (I Kings 19:1-8).
- The angel of the Lord delivered the three young Hebrew men from the fire (Daniel 3:28).
- Angels comforted Jesus after his temptation and in the Garden (Matt 4:11; Luke 22:43).
- The angel of the Lord comforted Paul while aboard a ship in a storm (Acts 27:23-24).
The Effect of Angels
- Angels discourage FEAR. Because God sends His angels to deliver us (Psalm 34:7; 91:9-11).
- A Syrian army surrounded Elisha, but many more angels protected him (II Kgs 6:13-17).
- When Daniel was thrown into the lions’ den, God’s angel delivered him (Daniel 6:22).
- Peter was delivered from prison on two different occasions (Acts 5:19-20; 12:1-11).
- We should especially remember their (a) will to help, (b) power, and (c) great numbers.
- Have you ever wondered why you were not killed in a collision? Maybe angels did it.
- Even at the hour of death, we should remember the angels (II Kings 2:11 cp Luke 16:22).
- Angels discourage FRUSTRATION. We should consider circumstances in light of angels.
- If Balaam had considered his ass carefully, he would have seen a cause (Numbers 22:33).
- If we have been faithful, then we should not fret with auto failure, missed flights, etc.
- If we trust the Lord, He will send His angel to provide a marriage partner (Gen 24:7,40).
- Angels encourage HOSPITALITY. We should be hospitable for serving angels (Heb 13:2).
- Abraham gave us a great example of willing entertainment of strangers (Genesis 18:1-8).
- It is our entertaining of Christ’s little brethren that shall be remembered (Matt 25:31-46).
- Remember, to despise even one of the little believers on Christ is dangerous (Matt 18:10).
- Angels encourage PRAYER. It is not wrong to pray for God to use angels to work for you.
- Manoah prayed for God to send the angel again so he could hear further (Judges 13:8-9).
- David prayed the angel of the Lord would be the destroyer of his enemies (Psalm 35:1-6).
- To know that God sent Gabriel while Daniel prayed should build hope (Dan 9:20-23).
- Angels encourage RIGHTEOUSNESS. Ability to see and hear our lives should cause fear.
- Men deceive themselves that God cannot see or hear (Ps 59:7; 94:7; Is 29:15; Jer 23:23).
- Nebuchadnezzar referred to the angels he saw as watchers and holy ones (Daniel 4:17).
- Paul charged Timothy before God, the Lord Jesus Christ, and elect angels (I Tim 5:21).
- Vows must be taken seriously. Be careful to avoid talking about your error (Eccl 5:6).
- Women ought to be careful about the length of their hair before the angels (I Cor 11:10).
- A woman’s hair is given her for a covering as a sign of submission (I Cor 11:3-15).
- The angels have a great respect for authority, and we should as well (II Peter 2:11).
- If angels do not bring railing accusations against human rulers, then we should not.
- They can easily see when you are absent from the assembly and where are instead.
- They can easily see what you watch on your television in the supposed privacy of home.
- They can easily stand in your bedroom and observe a loving marriage or a failing one.
- If you do not have a true and sincere relationship with Jesus Christ, then angels are not your servants.
- If you do not fear God, then the angel of the Lord is not encamping near you to deliver you at all.
- Understanding angels should deliver us from fear of danger and provoke us to greater righteousness.
For further study:
- Sermon Outline: “Blessed and Only Potentate,” explains the lordship of Jesus Christ over all created beings.
- Sermon Outline: “The Power of Darkness,” details the devil and his angels and their war against the saints.
- Sermon Outline: “Give No Place to the Devil,” exhorts saints to resist the devil’s opposition to godliness.
- Sermon Outline: “Making Sense of Daniel,” gives much greater detail from Daniel 7-12 of world empires.
- Sermon Outline:“An Angel with an Inkhorn,” exposits Ezekiel 9 with emphasis on the angel activity of 9:4.
Ten Thousand Angels
They bound the hands of Jesus, in the garden where He prayed;
They led Him through the streets in shame.
They spat upon the Saviour, so pure and free from sin;
They said, “Crucify Him; He’s to blame.”
Upon His precious head, they placed a crown of thorns;
They laughed and said, “Behold the King.”
They struck Him and they cursed Him, and mocked His holy name.
All alone He suffered everything.
When they nailed Him to the cross, His mother stood nearby;
He said, “Woman, behold thy son!”
He cried, “I thirst for water,” but they gave Him none to drink,
Then the sinful work of man was done.
To the howling mob He yielded; He did not for mercy cry.
The cross of shame He took alone.
And when He cried, “It’s finished,” He gave himself to die;
Salvation’s wondrous plan was done.
He could have called ten thousand angels,
To destroy the world and set Him free.
He could have called ten thousand angels,
But he died alone for you and me.