Olsen Park Church of Christ

What Does The Bible Say About Angels? (Part Two)

Introduction. This morning we began our examination of the Biblical teachings regarding angels.  We saw that…

·    The words translated “angel” means “messenger” and can refer either to human messengers or that class of supernatural beings which are superior to man but inferior to God.

·    Supernatural “angels” are heavenly in nature, they are created beings which cannot die and do not marry.

·    There are archangels, cherubim and seraphim and sinful angels who are faithful to Satan.

            Tonight we are going to move beyond matters which concern the nature and identity of angels and address their work.  We must keep in mind  Deuteronomy 29:29 “the secret things belong to God.” Truly, the more one studies this subject the more we some to see how little has been revealed on this subject.

I.  The Work of Angels in the Old Testament.

A.  Abraham and the angels (Genesis 18:1-3). Note:  Lord appeared to Abraham: 3 men (these looked like men) – 16-22, 33; 19:1  Note: Two went to Sodom, rescued Lot – Lord talked with Abraham.

B.  Jacob’s Dream (Genesis 28:10-12).

C.  Law given by angels (Acts 7:51-53).

1.      Hebrews 2:2 speaks of the Mosaic law as “the word spoken through angels.”

2.      Galatians 3:19 says of the law “it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator.” 

            Some argue that in these passages “angel” is used in its primary sense of messenger.  Yet the passage in Hebrews 2:2 comes just before the declaration in vs. 7 that man is “a little lower than the angels” – thus this is talking about heavenly angels.  Acts 7:35 the Lord speaking in the bush was an “Angel.”

D.    Daniel and angels (Daniel 6:16-22).

II. The Work of Angels in the New Testament.

A.  Zacharias and the angel (Luke 1:8-14).

B.  Mary and the angel (Luke 1:26-32).

C.  Joseph and the angel (Matthew 1:20-25).

D.  Jesus and the angels (Matthew 4:11;  Luke 22:43).

E.  Jesus’ ascension (Acts 1:9-11).

F.   Apostles in prison (Acts 5:17-21; 12:5-10

III. The Work of Angels in General.

A.  Announce God’s Messages.

1.      Birth of Jesus to Mary (Luke 1:26-32).

2.      Birth of Isaac to Abraham and Sarah (Genesis 18).

B.  Rescue God’s people (during the age of miracles).

1.      Peter freed from prison (Acts 12:5-10).

2.      Daniel saved from the Lions (Daniel 6:16-22).

C.  Inflict God’s Punishments (Acts 12:20-23).

D.  Carry the Righteous to Paradise (Luke 16:19-22).

E.  Gather the Saints unto Judgment (Mark 13:27).


IV.  Questions About Angels.

A.  Who is the “Angel of the Lord?”

      You might notice that some times the NKJV will refer to the “Angel of the Lord” and capitalize the word “Angel.”  Why do they do this?  It is believed that in some cases we are not dealing with a representative of the Lord but actually a preincarnate manifestation of God.  Some suggest this is in fact Christ (Exodus 23:20-23; 1 Corinthians 10:1-4).

1.      Remember in the example with Abraham and the angels - he speaks to one and it is as unto the Lord.  In the Bush - it is as unto the Lord.

2.      In some cases this seems an inescapable conclusion.

B.  Should Christians Pray to Angels?

      The Roman Catholic Church teaches that believers should pray not only to the departed dead but also to angels.  “Question: To whom should you pray?  Answer:  You should pray to God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, to the Blessed Mother, then to the saints and angels” (The New Parish Catechism. By William G. Martin. p. 17).

Colossians 2:18,19  Prayer is an act of worship. 

1.      Christ is the only mediator.  “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5, KJV).

C.  Does Each Person Have a Guardian Angel?

1.      Primary passage that addresses this (Matthew 18:10).  What does this say and what does it not say?

2.      Here angels are associated with “little ones” (not all people).

3.      Nothing about one angel for each person—simply “their angel.”

4.      Nothing about “guarding” the person simply watching and reporting to God.  (Note:  We know that angels see our behavior (Luke 15:10) “Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth”  Daniel 4:17 may be a reference to angels calling them “watchers.”

5.      I think there are a number of ways this passage may be understood:

·         Angels report to God what happens to the innocent that can’t report for themselves.

·         God assigns angels to observe what goes on.

·         Could “angel” ever be a synonym for “soul” or “spirit”?  Philo said –  “If therefore, you consider that souls, and demons, and angels are things differing indeed in name, but one and identical in reality, you will then be able to discard that most heavy burden”  (On The Giants.  IV. 16 - Yonge. p. 153)  Note:  Hebrews 1:13,14 identifies angels as “ministering spirits”.  Acts 23:8 says of the Sadducees they say there is no “angel” or “spirit.”

·         Could it be that the Lord is saying God himself beholds the spiritual manifestations of these “little ones.”

      What ever this is teaching it is clear that there  is no authority for men to pray to, rely upon or name a “guardian angel.”   Note:  Must ask why some protect and some don’t?

D.  How Do Angels Operate Today?  We don’t really know!

We know this:

·         Miracles were temporary:  Tongues, Miraculous knowledge and prophecies were to end (I Corinthians 13:8-10).  Miraculous angelic work served to confirm and preserve the word until complete revelation.

·         Evil spirits were to depart during the reign of Christ (Zechariah 13:1-6).

·         God doesn’t show partiality (Acts 10:34).

      If God miraculously helps some and denies others this miraculous angelic help that would be partiality.  Any help offered by angelic powers now is not miraculous (i.e. contrary to natural law)—freeing from prison, etc.  That is not to say that God doesn’t help us through natural means.  Could angels be God’s means of sustaining natural laws?  If so then they help us every day.  I don’t believe today there is direct communication or assistance between men and angels. 

Read: Hebrews 1:13,14  Note:  There is no indication of the time frame or the age it is referring to.  Apostles minister to us through their work in the word.  Angels have ministered to us through their work in God’s scheme of redemption. Is this spiritual or physical ministry?  Who knows what is done in the spiritual realm which is for our benefit?

Read: Hebrews 13:2   Note: Here we have the same issue. What time frame is this talking about?  Abraham did this.  Does that mean we will?  If so it would be a miracle!

      Carrol Sutton has some observation at the end of his booklet on angels that may be of value to us:

1.  There is no evidence that an angel has ever saved a sinner from sins!

2.  There is no evidence and angel ever preached the gospel to anyone! (Note: Brought preacher & student together)

3.  No evidence angels will appear to men today.

4.  No evidence that an angel will speak to a preacher to direct his message.

Conclusion.  There are certainly people who are claim to have had experiences with angels.  If we consider this carefully we are moved to realize that most of these claims are claims to have had strong feelings about something rather than concrete encounters.  It is important for us to know what the Bible says on the matter and what it does not.

Kyle Pope 2010

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