Thursday, July 11, 2013

Hebrews Chapter One Part 6

1:7 And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.

The study of angels can easily become a massive distraction in our study of Scripture, and there seems to be a two pronged approach to them. Either they are largely ignored, or there is a fixation on angelic beings that is quite unhealthy. I would venture that a fixation on angels is worse than ignoring them, since it may eventually lead us into a morbid study of demonology and Satanism. While angels, both holy and fallen, are very real and quite capable of interacting with the world of men, it is unwise to devote too much time to them, since they are not our God and Savior, but a fellow servant such as we are. Contrarily, neglecting their reality is equally unwise; if they had no importance God would not have created them and used them (and still use them) to interact with us.

Interact with us? Do I believe angels appear to people still? Of course; why shouldn’t they? There was no mandate with the conclusion of the New Testament that angels were no longer capable of interacting with us when God deigned it so. In the book of Acts we find an angel rescuing Peter from death at the hands of Herod, Acts 12:7. Likewise an angel appeared to Paul to strengthen him and tell him that he and all the compliment of the ship he was on would be saved from the looming shipwreck, Acts 27:23. In the book of Hebrews we read “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels,” Hebrews 13:2. So yes, I believe that angels, good and evil, still interact with mankind, as they have since our inception, Genesis 3:24.

We know of numerous types of angels from Scripture. There are the archangels, Seraphim and Cherubim. Many also believe that the mention of thrones, dominions, principalities and powers (Ephesians 1:21; Colossians 1:16; 2:15) also refer to ranks of angelic beings. Paul seems to affirm this in Ephesians 6:12 when he writes “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” It seems the angelic hosts of heaven are quite immense in number, Job 1:6; Daniel 7:10; Matthew 26:53; Luke 2:13; 2nd Thessalonians 1:7; Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 12:4, 7. The archangels such as Michael are referred to as princes, Daniel 10:13; 12:1. This seems to be in relation to territories, or kingdoms/nations, since Michael is the prince over Israel, while there are princes over Greece and Persia as well, though they are not named. That Michael is not unique in bearing the title “archangel” one needs only read Daniel 10:13 to see that he is “one of the chief princes;” another nail in the coffin of the Jehovah’s Witnesses doctrine of Jesus being Michael. Michael’s place as archangel was not unique.

Daniel, as well as books such as Revelation, reveals a terrible spiritual warfare being carried out by these angelic beings who are generally invisible to us. We do know that demons are not discarnate humans from a previous earth, as some who embrace the Gap Theory teach. No, Satan led a third of Heaven’s host into rebellion sometime during the beginning when he decided he wanted to be God in God’s stead, and some were punished and imprisoned for their transgressions early in our creation’s history, Jude 1:6.

Holy angels appear many times throughout Scripture as messengers for God, much like the prophets. They are placed as guardians for Eden when Adam is exiled. They appear to Hagar when she abandons hope for Ishmael. They accompany God when He visits Abraham before Sodom’s destruction. Those same angels remove Lot and his family from Sodom before it is destroyed. Angels visit Jacob in a dream. Later, Jacob sees angels in a mighty company traveling with him. This is in Genesis alone. The writer of Hebrews summarizes this activity by stating that angels “are ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation,” Hebrews 1:14. Angels seem intrinsically linked to the welfare of God’s people.

They are also devoted servants of God, who unswervingly obey His commands. “Bless the Lord, you His angels, who excel in strength, who do His word, heeding the voice of His word. Bless the Lord, all you His hosts, you ministers of His, who do His pleasure,” Psalm 103:20-21. Angels are message bearers, soldiers, and sometimes executioners, as in the case of David when he was judged because of the census, 1st Chronicles 21:15. We derive a clear picture however of their loyalty and fidelity toward God, and their attitude toward Him is one of constant praise, Job 38:7; Psalm 148:2; Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 4:8, etc. Angels are fellow servants like us, and an inordinate fixation on them will inevitably lead one astray, Colossians 2:18-19; Revelation 22:8-9. As the angel confesses at the conclusion of the Revelation: “I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the word of this book. Worship God.”

2 comments:

  1. Angels kind of make the entire question of extra terrestrial beings moot don't they? At the same time, I agree that a focus on angels can be just as harmful as some people's focus on extraterrestrial beings, distracting us from the truth.

    Great post.

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  2. It is interesting that so many people look for life "out there" but refuse the massive evidence the Bible puts forth that there is much life "out there," just not the type of life they want. Obsessing over aliens becomes something of a religion unto itself, and the advocates are generally willing to run on blind faith. If only people would devote that sort of energy, zeal and willingness to have an open mind toward the God of the Bible and His message!

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