From the book: THE TRUTH ABOUT ANGELS
What Are Angels?
Millions of spiritual Creatures walk the Earth unseen, both
when we wake, and when we sleep For God will deigne
to visit oft the dwellings of just Men, delighted, and with frequent intercourse thither will send his winged Messengers on errands of supernal Grace.1
To some people, the very existence of angels is in question. To them, no proof may be possible, though evidence may abound. Yet if you place confidence in Scripture, it is clear that the angels who appear from beginning to end are not symbols, figures of speech, or mental illusions. They are individual beings created by God, and they share in His plan for mankind or oppose it with Satan as their leader.
Accepting the existence of angels raises many other questions about them.
* Where did angels come from?
* How many are there?
* What is their nature?
* What do they look like?
* How much power and authority do they have over the earth and its inhabitants?
* What is their position in relation to mankind?
* What is their position in relation to Jesus?
The word angel simply means "messenger." The Hebrew word is malakh, and the Greek is angelos. Depending on the context these words can indicate a human messenger (1 Sam. 6:21; Isa. 44:26; Matt. 11:10; Luke 7:24; James 2:25) or the supernatural heavenly beings we call angels (Luke 1:11; Ps. 104:4; Matt. 4:6; Rev. 16:1).2
The Origin of Angels
The psalmist understood that God created the angels (Ps. 103:20-21; 148:2).
In the New Testament, the apostle Paul wrote to the church at Colossae in what is now Turkey:
For by him [Jesus] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers [which are understood as angels]: all things were created by him, and for him.
One of the errors Paul was writing about to the Colossians was the worship of angels. Some scholars think this was part of ajudaistic Gnosticism, a forerunner of the full-blown Gnostic religion of the third century.
Also, it is obvious from this verse that Jesus is not the first and highest angel, as some New Age and other non-Christian systems teach. Paul wrote that by Him were all things created, and that includes angels.
Paul told them that it was misguided humility to bow down to angels (Col. 2:18). Angels are created beings, not divine.
There are differences of opinion as to exactly when the creation of angels took place in relation to the creation of man. Here are two different ideas.
1. Angels were created before man when God created the heavens and the earth (Gen. 1:1). This involves the "gap theory" or the "ruin-reconstruction" theory, which presents the idea that there is an indefinite time gap between verses 1 and 2 of Genesis 1. This theory, or doctrine, says God created a perfect world some time in the unknown past. When Satan rebelled (Isa. 14), the inhabitants of that world fell with him. Judgment, or warfare, resulted in the earth becoming chaotic. According to the theory, the plants, animals, and beings of that time whose fossils are found today are genetically unrelated to today's earth or to human beings.
[THIS IS THE CORRECT UNDERSTANDING—— ANGELS WERE CREATED, THEN THE UNIVERSE, AND THE EARTH, AS SCRIPTURE SAYS, “TO BE INHABITED” AND “NOT IN SHAMBLES” —— THE COVERING CHERUB REBELLED AND BECAME SATAN, THE ANGLES THAT WENT WITH HIM BECAME DEMONS. THERE WAS WAR IN HEAVEN, JESUS SAID HE BEHELD SATAN FALL FROM HEAEVN AS LIGHTNING. SATAN WAS ALLOWED TO BRING DESTRUCTION TO THE EARTH, METEORS THROWN TO EARTH; A DESTRUCTION THE HUMAN MIND CAN HARLY COMPREHEND; MASSIVE WAVES OF THE SEAS, UTTER DESTRUCTION OF ALL LIVING THINGS; THE AGE OF THE DINOSAURS AND ALL PLANTS CAME TO AN END; MASSIVE LAYERS OF STRATA FORMED, FOSSILS, COMPRESSION OF PLANTS FORMED OIL FIELDS, PRESSURE CAUSE DIAMONDS INSIDE THE EARTH—— WATER COVERED THE EARTH AS GENESIS 1:2 SHOWS. NOAH’S FLOOD WAS NOT WORLDWIDE; THE WORLDWIDE FLOOD WAS GENESIS 1:2. - Keith Hunt]
2. Angels were not created before the universe but during the "hexaemeron"—the six epochs or eras of creation represented by six days in Scripture. Only God existed before the creation of the universe (Gen. 2:2-3) .3
[NO SUCH THING AS SIX EPOCHS OR ERAS EVER OCCURRED - FALSE DOCTRINE - Keith Hunt]
After studying Scripture and the various theological positions on this, it seems to me that angels must have been created before the universe when there was only God Himself. One verse in the Bible literally spells out that angels were already there when God created the earth.
“Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth... when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shoutedfor joy.” Job 38:4-7
The phrase "sons of God" is used several times in Scripture to refer to angels. Also, it is obvious that Satan existed before God created Adam and Eve, and that he is an angelic being.
All angels were created holy, because God said that everything He had created was "good" (Gen. 1:21). God could not be all good and directly create anything wicked.
Angels were not only holy in nature (Mark 8:38), but everything and every influence in their surroundings were good. They had great privileges—one of them being direct, personal fellowship with God.
However, God granted angels the ability to make choices, and some angels chose to rebel with Satan.
According to the Bible, those angels who followed Satan cannot be redeemed (Matt. 25:41). Some theologians suggest the rebellious angels may have had a period of probation when they could have repented.
But why would God provide redemption for the sons of Adam but not for angels? Theissen wrote:
Because angels are a company and not a race, they sinned individually, and not in some federal head of the race (like Adam). It may be that because of this, God made no provision of salvation for the fallen angels.4
[WE ARE NOT TOLD IN THE BIBLE THAT FALLEN ANGELS CAN REPENT; ALL INDICATIONS ARE THEY CAN NOT. BEING CREATED SO HIGH IN POWERFUL ORDER, AND KNOWING THE GODHEAD, IT WOULD SEEM FOR ANGELS ONCE THEY MADE THE DECISION TO REBEL AND LIVE AGAINST GOD, THEY COULD NOT REPENT - Keith Hunt]
Why Did God Create Angels?
Thomas Aquinas, a medieval scholar who was called the "angelic doctor" because he wrote about angels so much, suggested that angels had to be created in order to "perfect" the universe. In other words, if everything that could exist was not created, then creation would not be perfect, which would be impossible for God.
Another theory is that God is a God of "order," and an unfilled gap would upset the order of the universe. This is called the "great chain-of being" theory. This thought, carried to the extreme, led to the idea that God had to be approached through intermediaries.
A third idea is that God created angels to praise Him, show Him honor, and bring Him glory.
The very name for this order of beings—messengers—also seems to imply that they were created for a certain function.
However, it seems to me that all of the theories about why God created angels can be put to rest with one statement: He did it because He wanted to! It really is not necessary—and may not be our business—to understand why He wanted to.
One thing we can observe is that each angel appears to have been a direct creation of God, says Robert Lightner of Dallas Theological Seminary.5 In contrast, for the beginning of mankind, God created an original pair that could reproduce. Men and angels have different natures because they were created in different ways.
The result of this, according to the late Henry Clarence Theissen, first dean of Wheaton College, is that angels are a company, not a race, and are considered an "order" of creation. That means angels do not procreate—at least, they do not procreate in their natural state.
[THEY WERE NEVER CREATED TO REPRODUCE— EVER. THE IDEA BY SOME THAT THEY MADE THEMSELVES LIKE HUMANS AND CO-HABITED WITH WOMEN, IS ONE OF THE GREATEST ERRORS SATAN HAS BESTOWED ON SOME PEOPLE THAT BELIEVE THIS WAS SO - Keith Hunt]
They are called "sons of God" in the sense of having been created by God, but they are never called "sons of angels."6
Angels do not die (Luke 20:36), so the number God created has, and will, remain the same.
[THIS PROVES AND CLEARLY SHOWS ANGELS WERE CREATED NEVER TO DIE; SO THE FATE OF FALLEN ANGELS IS YET TO BE DECIDED UPON IN ITS FULL FORM; CHRISTIANS ARE TO JUDGE ANGELS ( 1 COR. 6: 3) - Keith Hunt]
How Many Angels Are There?
The number of angels that exist was a popular subject for theologians during the Middle Ages in spite of the fact that they never did argue over how many angels could stand on the head of a pin.
Jewish mystics in the Middle Ages came up with 301,655,722 angels, a number arrived at by a complicated formula of assigning numbers to letters, then translating the letters back to numbers and counting them.
Author and publisher John Ronner wrote that no matter how many there are, angels "outnumber us like the Sioux nation did Custer at the Little Big Horn!"7
One Scripture verse mentions "ten thousand times ten thousand," which would be a hundred million in that one place (Dan. 7:10). The bottom line of these allusions seems to be that angels are innumerable (Heb. 12:22). Or, as Elisha told his servant, "They that be with us are more than they that be with them" (2 Kings 6:16).
However, Job had the perfect answer to questions about the number of angels: "Who is able to number his hosts of angels?" (Job 25:3, TLB).
If we cannot know how many angels there are, can we know what angels are like? What kind of natures do they have, since each one is a separate creation and not a race with inherited characteristics as is man?
The Nature and Appearance of Angels
It is generally recognized that there are three elements or attributes of personality, all of which are possessed by angels.
1. Angels have intelligence, which is expressed through a desire to look into the salvation of humans (1 Pet. 1:12) and by the ability to communicate intelligently in speech. In fact, they apparently have their own languages (1 Cor. 13:1).
Writers of all systematic theologies, both Protestant and Catholic, call angels "rational" beings. Angels have wisdom, as well as knowledge that is beyond man's about many matters. Second Samuel 14:20 says, "My lord is wise, according to the wisdom of an angel of God to know all things that are in the earth."
We also can infer that angels render intelligent worship to God from passages throughout Scripture and especially in the Book of Revelation. However, there is nothing in the Bible that would lead us to believe that some angels are more intelligent than others. Apparently, they were not created with all the knowledge they ever would have, but from inferences in Scripture they are growing in-knowledge (Eph. 3:9-10; 1 Pet. 1:12).
Angels have emotions, which we see by their rejoicing over a sinner who is saved (Luke 15:10) and their exuberant celebration at the birth of Jesus.
Angels have wills. They have the ability to choose from various courses of action and to follow through. In the case of Lucifer and the angels who followed him, some angels exercised their wills by rebelling against God.
It seems evident from the examples of angels in the Bible that they definitely have personalities. But what does the Bible say about what angels look like?
In spite of being individually created (which means God could have created them exactly alike), there seem to be differences between certain orders of angelic beings. Messenger angels do not look like cherubim and vice versa.
Roland Buck, my friend who described many personal incidents of angelic visitations, said:
Everyone seems to be interested in knowing something about the physical appearance of angels. No two of them look alike! They are different sizes, have different hairstyles, and completely different appearances.8
Angels' bodies are not discussed in the Bible. However, this question has been the subject of much discussion and debate over the years in the church, particularly during the Middle Ages.
Do they have bodies at all? Or are they pure spirit beings?
In stories we have collected, there have been angels with wings and angels without wings, angels who appear as angels and angels who appear as human beings.
[NOWHERE DOES THE BIBLE SPEAK OF ANGELS WITH WINGS; CERTAIN OTHER SPIRIT CREATURES HAVE WINGS, BUT THE MESSENGER ANGELS ARE NEVER DESCRIBED AS HAVING WINGS; ANGELS CAN TRANSFORM THEMSELVES AS TO LOOK LIKE A MAN - Keith Hunt]
It seems likely to me that angels who appear to us as men, not as angels, would look like whatever people to whom they are appearing. In other words, if the angel who appeared to Samson's mother had not looked like an Israelite, would she have called him "a man of God" as if he were an Israelite prophet (Judg. 13:6)?
If angels "appear unawares" (Heb. 13:2), then angels are appearing as Chinese to Chinese and African to Africans, as well as American to Americans. That would mean there are angels appearing as blacks as well as whites—probably as every nationality of the world.
The Bible does not tell us that all angels have wings. This idea of wings comes from a verse in Daniel where it says an angel "was caused to fly swiftly" (Dan. 9:21). However, as angels do not move through space and time as we do, we do not know that they need wings to fly. The fact remains that people who report seeing angels often observe that they have wings.
[THIS VERSE IN DANIEL IS A FIGURE OF SPEACH ONLY; PEOPLE WHO CLAIM TO HAVE SEEN ANGELS WITH WINGS, HAVE REALLY SEEM DEMONS WHO MANIFEST THEMSELVES WITH WINGS TO DECEIVE HUMANS, AND HENCE PEOPLE HAVE DRAWN AND PAINTED ANGELS WITH WINGS; THERE IS NO EVIDENCE IN THE BIBLE TRUE ANGELS EVER APPEARED TO MANKIND WITH WINGS. SOME OF GOD’S CHILDREN HAVE SEEN IN VISION SPIRIT CREATURES WITH WINGS. THE COVERING CHERUB WHO BECAME SATAN HAD WINGS, SEE OTHER STUDIES ON THE ORIGIN OF SATAN AND SPIRIT CREATURES ON THIS WEBSITE - Keith Hunt]
Other orders of heavenly beings called cherubim, seraphim, and living creatures are described with wings (Ezek. 1:5-11, 1 Kings 6:27). In medieval art, many angels were drawn with wings, but they were based on the Greek goddess Nike, as I've mentioned earlier. Therefore, I believe many angels probably do not have wings.
Both the Roman Catholic Church and Protestants agree that angels do not have material bodies. They are "pure spirits, not composed of matter and form, but composed of essence and existence, of act and potentiality," wrote Aquinas.9
[THEY CAN APPEAR AS IF PHYSICAL HUMANS THAT YOU WOULD BE ABLE TO TOUCH, AS JESUS WAS TOUCHED AFTER HIS RESURRECTION. MODERN SCIENCE HAS SHOWN THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS SOLID MATERIAL MATTER, EVERYTHING WE THINK IS PHYSICAL IS REALLY ATOMS FORMED IN CERTAIN WAYS AND GIVE OFF THE APPEARANCE OF BEING SOLID. MODERN SCIENCE MICROSCOPES CAN NOW DELVE INTO THE ATOM, AND SHOW THERE IS NOTHING “SOLID MATERIAL” AS WE THINK OF SOLID. BUT ANGELS CAN MANIFEST THEMSELVES AS HUMANS, HENCE WE HAVE PAUL IN HEBREWS STATING MANY HAVE ENTERTAINED ANGELS UNAWARES [HEB. 13:1] - Keith Hunt]
In non-Christian religions, the idea of how angels look varies, particularly with specific angelic personalities as they are perceived or imagined by different groups.
We are not usually aware of their presence because angels do not make visible appearances the majority of the time. Hope Price quotes a Suffolk, England, minister as saying:
Angels tend to be shy creatures. They are messengers and so do not flaunt themselves. If at all possible, they do not appear.10
Are they shy? Or are real angels concerned that people might focus on them?
Are angels aware of the human propensity to worship creatures instead of the Creator?
Do they realize that the glory of their appearance can cause such fear that their message is overshadowed?
Billy Graham was asked, "What would I see if I saw an angel?" His answer was:
God is forever imaginative, colorful, and glorious in what He designs. Some of the descriptions of angels, including the one of Lucifer in Ezekiel 28, indicate that they are exotic to the human eye and mind. Apparently angels have a beauty and variety that surpass anything known to men.11
Angels in Scripture appear in masculine form, and the word angel is always in the masculine gender. Nowhere in the Bible do we read of a feminine angel. Even when they appeared to people as humans ("angels unawares"), it was always in the form of men, not women.
[TRUE…. THERE IS NO VERSE IN THE BIBLE SHOWING US THAT ANGELS EVER APPEARED AS A WOMAN - Keith Hunt]
The Power and Authority of Angels
Angels are greater than mankind in might and power (2 Pet. 2:11). They are not all-powerful as God is, but unusual strength is attributed to them (Ps. 103:20; Matt. 28:2). Certain elements of nature are under angelic control at certain times (Rev. 7:1; 14:18).
Their powers are derived from God and exercised in accordance with the laws of the material and spiritual world:
They rolled back a stone that could have weighed two tons (Luke 24:2-4).
They closed the mouths of lions (Dan. 6:22).
They opened prison doors and loosed chains (Acts 12:7-10).
Dickason commented that even though angels have powers that are different from ours, God limits what they can do. Yet He does permit them some latitude in how they deal with the people to whom they are sent. Apparently, the higher the rank, the more delegated authority they have on which to act.12
I believe one example of an angel exercising the authority God gave him is in the meeting between Gabriel and the priest Zacharias. It is unlikely that God had told Gabriel to strike Zacharias dumb for months if Zacharias responded with unbelief. Gabriel had the latitude to handle such things as he saw fit. In the end, when the baby arrived and they named him what the angel had said, Zacharias's speech was restored (Luke 1:20, 64). The result was much glory and honor given to God, which is always the aim-of the angels.
Apparently, even the fallen angels have limits beyond which God will not allow them to go, and there are conditions under which they operate. However, I do not believe God assigns them to do evil. This is something we discuss in chapter thirteen.
The Relationship of Jesus, Angels, and Man
Both people and angels are responsible to obey and serve God, and all will be held accountable to Him. We may look at the greater wisdom, knowledge, and power of the angels and think of ourselves as inferior. Yet, angels are curious about us.
They want to understand redemption (1 Pet. 1:12).
They observe the affairs of the redeemed (1 Cor. 4:9; 11:10; 1 Tim. 5:21).
They are to gain a better understanding of God's wisdom as it is displayed through the church (Eph. 3:9-10).
They know when the lost become "found" by God and rejoice over their salvation (Luke 15:10).
They apparently stay busy ministering to people in various ways (see the following chapter), yet we do not have to do anything for angels.
In Jesus' future kingdom, there is no mention that angels will rule and reign with Him, yet we will (2 Tim. 2:12; Rev. 5:10; 20:6; 22:5)'.
Chafer said angels are called "sons of God" in the Old Testament, while men are called "servants of God." This is reversed in the New Testament. He says this may be because in the New Testament, saints are seen in relation to "their final exaltation into the likeness of Christ compared to which estate, the angels are inferior."13
It seems the bottom line is that both angels and born-again human beings were designed to be servants of God, but only man is called a "child" of God through a blood covenant. In the Old Testament angels are called "sons of God," but the relationship is quite different from being a child of God through the blood of Jesus (Heb. 9:14-15).
Jesus Compared to Angels
The Book of Hebrews contrasts the relative positions of Jesus and angels very carefully. Angels were held in high regard by the Jews of Jesus' day, which is why the author of Hebrews addressed this question.
Hebrews 1:5-14 demonstrates that Christ is superior to angels in the dignity of His position.
He is God's only begotten Son.
He is the Son of David, who inherited and fulfilled God's promise to David.
He is the reigning Son of man.
His throne is higher than the angels.
He is eternal and not a created being. Although angels do not die, they have not always existed, as the Bible tells us Jesus has.
He is the victorious King and Priest, while angels are "ministering spirits" assigned to render service to those who accept the salvation provided by Jesus.
He is ruler of the kingdom of God, while angels are not assigned dominion.
We see that only the begotten Son of God could overcome Satan and his fallen angels. On the cross, Jesus defeated and judged all the evil angelic forces arrayed against God (John 12:31-33; 16:11; Heb. 2:14).
Because of that, Jesus is declared Lord over all, and every knee in heaven, on earth, and under the earth will bow to Him, and every tongue will confess that He is Lord to the glory of God (PhiL 2:9-11). Angels will join with all of creation in worshiping Jesus.
* If all of the knees in heaven will bow to Him, does that mean angels live in heaven? And where is heaven?
* If angels are a company and an army, is there an organization to their activities?
Does an angel have a "name, rank, and serial number"?
In the next chapter, we will look at some answers to these questions.
What angels do
Angelic beings are continually ministering to people in many ways in these present days. Many seeming coincidences are really angels on the job! We haven't fully realized God's use of heavenly hosts to get His job done, because of our limited information concerning angels.1
Angels appear to mankind on Earth. Angels minister to the saints on Earth. Angels protect people on Earth. Angels deliver God's judgment on nations and people on Earth.
However, angels do not live on Earth. This planet probably is a place they visit, but they would not want to live here! So where do angels live?
The authors of The Foundations of Pentecostal Theology wrote:
While angels are often depicted as ministering on God's behalf to saints here on earth, it seems their main abode is in heaven (Matt. 22:30; John 1:51).2
While heaven seems like a simple answer, many scholars believe the Bible speaks of three heavens. Gaehelein pointed out that heaven in the Hebrew is plural—"the heavens."3
The first heaven would be the atmosphere above the earth.
The second heaven is the stellar realm of stars and planets.
The third heaven is the realm where God lives, beyond the dimension of a telescope.
Within the various levels of heaven, it seems that the angels have a special place in which to dwell. Jude wrote of the angels that "kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation" (Jude 6). I believe these angels may have fallen from the third heaven to the second heaven. Paul warned against angels "from heaven" who would preach a false gospel (Gal. 1:8). These were probably angels from the second heaven.
All angels probably had their original abode in the third heaven, but since the time when some of them fell, opinions vary on where angels live. Perhaps the answer is that there are good angels in both the second and third heavens. However, no evil angels can be in the third heaven because they could not tolerate God's presence. (The exception is Satan, as we see in Job 1:6 and Rev. 12:10.)
[ANGELS WERE WITHIN GOD’S HEAVEN IN THE ENDLESS SPACE. WHEN THE UNIVERSE WAS CREATED, NO DOUBT ANGELS COULD TRAVEL ANYWHERE. THE COVERING CHERUB AND OTHERS WITH HIM WERE GIVEN THE EARTH TO KEEP AND GOVERN; BUT THAT CHERUB WANTED GOD’S THRONE IN GOD’S HEAVEN AND ROSE UP WITH OTHERS TO WAR AGAINST THE GODHEAD; THERE WAS GREAT UNIVERSE BATTLE, AND THE CHERUB WAS CAST BACK TO EARTH AS SATAN. OTHERS STUDIES ON THIS WEBSITE PROVE WHAT I’VE STATED - Keith Hunt]
The seraphim, the living creatures, and Gabriel are spoken of as being in the presence of God, so we can assume they are in the third heaven (Isa. 6:1-6; Rev. 4:6-11; Luke 1:19).
The "heavenly hosts" or the multitudes of angels who live in the heavens are also spoken of in military terms. As such, they are an extension of the power and providence of Jehovah of hosts. God is pictured as the "sovereign commander of a great heavenly army, who works all His pleasure in heaven and in earth"4 (1 Sam. 17:45; Ps. 89:6, 8). It seems then that angels live in the heavenlies and "work" there and on the earth.
[ANGELS NOW SINCE THE UNIVERSE WAS CREATED HAVE WORK NO DOUBT IN ALL THREE HEAVENS - Keith Hunt]
Admiration, Not Adulation
It is easy to see how the theologians and populace of the Middle Ages became fascinated with the whole idea of angels and their functions. Today we must still be careful not to get carried away with the subtle fascination of the godly supernatural, or we could lose our focus on Jesus.
We should see angels not as having a "mystique" but as being servants, warriors, and messengers of the living God. In fact, the angel who appeared to John said, "I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book" (Rev. 22:9).
If we can keep the perspective that angels serve God in the unseen realm and we serve Him in the visible realm, it will help us treat the subject of angels with only the respect due "fellowservants."
Those angels who have remained in their "first estate" are more loyal, obedient, and trustworthy than we can possibly imagine. They deserve our admiration but not our adulation.
Andrew J. Bandstra, a professor at Calvin Theological Seminary, wrote in an article in Christianity Today that "one theologian has suggested that when we speak of angels we should do so only 'softly and incidently' He meant that Christ, not angels, stands at the center of the biblical message."5
Timothy Jones, writing in the same issue, commented, "The Bible cares more about what angels say or do than what they are."
In earlier chapters we have seen some of the things angels do, but how do they know what to do?
Who organizes them and makes their assignments?
Does God personally make out a daily agenda for each angel?
Billy Graham wrote that angels cannot be studied without realizing that there are ranks among them. He said evidence shows "they are organized in terms of authority and glory."6
Name, Rank, and Serial Number
Angels not only have rank, but they apparendy have proper names, too. We are only told the personal names of three: Gabriel and Michael, and Lucifer, who was one of the cherubim. Jewish and medieval Christian writings give the names of many more angels, but these are not in the Bible and may or may not be accurate. We do not know whether every angel has a proper name or not, although it is very probable that each does.
The word angel is a transliteration of the Greek word for "messenger" (angelos), that being one of the major functions or assignments of angels. Some of the generic terms used for angels often indicate their assignments or functions.7
* Leitourgos (Greek) and mishrathim (Hebrew), sometimes used to mean "angels," are the words for "servant" or "minister."
* Host is the Hebrew word sava. This encompasses the whole array of God's heavenly army—a military force to fight His battles and accomplish His will.
* Watchers, as in Daniel 4:13 and 17, define angels as supervisors and agents employed by God in the affairs of the world. Perhaps this rank of angel is involved in decision-making and carrying out God's decrees in earthly matters.
* Bene dim, or "sons of the mighty," is translated "O ye mighty" in Psalm 29:1. It is descriptive of the great power of angels.
* Bene elohim, or "sons of God," defines angels as a certain class of being. This term includes Satan.
* Elohim by itself is sometimes applied to angels. It pictures angels as a supernatural class of beings higher in strength than natural man. When the angels appeared to Jacob at Bethel, the term used is elohim (Gen. 35:7).
* Stars is a symbolic term for angels, implying their residence in the heavens (Rev. 12:4).
In Jude 9, Michael's "rank" is mentioned. He is an archangel, which means he has a high rank. We see him as the leader of an army of angels who overcome Satan (Rev. 12:7).
* Some believe there are three archangels, as I do, but only Michael is specifically called that in Scripture. He is also called "one of the chief princes" in Daniel 10:13, which is evidence there may be other "princes," or archangels. However, Michael is called the archangel in Jude 9. His name means "who is like God?"
* Gabriel, the angel who "stands in the presence of God" (Luke 1:19), appears to be God's special messenger. Whenever he appears, it is to communicate revelation and interpretation concerning God's kingdom development. His name means "mighty one of God." In Scripture, he appeared in the form of a man, spoke with a man's voice, and had the power of touch as humans do. He has great strength and is the angel described in Daniel as flying swiftly. Nowhere is he called an archangel (which means it may not be "Gabe" who blows the trumpet on that "great gettin' up mornin'!")
* The Bible lists eight major levels among angels, both angels of God and fallen angels. These apparently are governmental levels, which again shows organization and rank.
* They are thrones, dominions, principalities, authorities, powers, world rulers, wicked spirits, and archangels (Rom. 8:38; 1 Cor. 15:24; Eph. 1:21; 3:10; 6:12; Col. 1:16; 2:10, 15).
What we can see from these brief mentions is that, yes, angels do have names and ranks; identification is as definite in the heavenly army as dog tags with serial numbers are in the United States military. These ranks obviously are not the three "choirs" developed in the Middle Ages, but there are definitely levels of authority. God is the originator of order and organization and not of confusion (1 Cor. 14:33).
Cherubim, Seraphim, and Living Creatures
The Bible also gives us names of special classes of beings. They have certain characteristics, duties, and what we might call "serial numbers" that separate them from "ordinary" angels. Some people view these beings as separate classes from angels—not as other types of angels.
At any rate, the apparent highest-ranking class is mentioned eighty-five times in the Bible and never called "angel." These are the cherubim, who definitely have wings.
As is the case with many heavenly realities, their character and appearance is so far beyond human imagination and present comprehension that they must be described in earthly terms obviously designed to convey something surpassingly supernatural. (Ezek. 1:5,14; 28:12-14).8
Cherubim guarded the Garden of Eden with flaming swords after Adam and Eve were evicted, teaching us that sin and paradise are incompatible (Gen. 3:24) .9
Cherubim were the golden symbols God directed Moses to put on the lid of the ark of the covenant. In this case, each had a face and two wings that covered the ark. They were designed to look down on the ark rather than across at each other (Exod. 37:9).
Seraphim also have wings; in fact, they each have six of them. Two cover their faces, two cover their feet, and they fly with the other two (Isa. 6:2). They are seen in connection with the glory of God, along with the cherubim. Their "name" or designation means "the burning ones." In Isaiah 6, they were seen hovering above and on both sides of Jehovah on His throne.
Ezekiel describes the living creatures who each have four faces and four wings with hands under the wings, and the noise of their coming is "like the roar of rushing waters, like the voice of the Almighty, like the tumult of an army." (See Ezekiel 1:24, NIV).
The living creatures mentioned in Ezekiel and Revelation may actually be cherubim because they fit the description in Ezekiel. Or they could actually be seraphim. It is not possible to ascertain this with certainty.
Assignments Among Cherubim, Seraphim, and Living Creatures
Cherubim appear to be the highest ranking of the heavenly beings. One reason cherubim are never called angels may be because they are never messengers. They are never used in Scripture to carry-revelation or instruction from God to men. They are used to protect God's glory and proclaim His grace.
Likewise, seraphim are never messengers. Their function seems to be showing forth the holiness and transcendence of God. When the prophet Isaiah confessed his sinfulness and uncleanness, a seraphim flew with a live coal to touch Isaiah's lips and purge his sin (Isa. 6:6—7). This is a priestly type of service for God whose holy-standards demand that believers be cleansed before serving Him.
The purpose of the living creatures—whatever they are—seems to be to worship God directly, to witness the worship of God by redeemed men, and, in Revelation, to direct the judgments of God.
Job Assignments of Angels
Chafer wrote that the chief assignment of angels is not so much to carry messages and deal with God's people as it is to praise and worship Him.10 This is the "first and most obvious work of angels," says James Montgomery Boice, pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia.11
Michael, the only one specifically called "archangel" in the Bible, apparently has an assignment as a military leader. This probably makes him head of the warrior angels.
Michael stands up for God's people and opposes God's enemies but always under the authority of God. When the devil challenged him over Moses' body (Jude 9), he did not handle matters on his own. He said, "The Lord rebuke thee."
Gabriel, who most people believe is an archangel although he is never called that in the Bible, is God's leading or highest-ranking messenger.
Other angels are also identified by the service they carry out. These are:
Angels of judgment (Gen. 19:13; 2 Sam. 24:16; 2 Kings 19:35; Ezek. 9:1; Ps. 78:49).
Angels designated as "watchers" (Dan. 4:13, 23).
Angel of the abyss (Rev. 9:11).
Angel over fire (Rev. 14:18).
Angel of the waters (Rev. 16:5).
Angels in general—apparendy the lowest ranking in the heavenly hierarchy—are messengers. As we saw from biblical examples:
They deliver messages and deliver people from danger when God ordains it.
They protect and defend God's people, even helping to fight battles when it is within His will.
They minister to God's people in various ways.
Will angels still minister to the saints after the resurrection? Lester Sumrall wrote in his Indiana Christian University course on angels:
Angels are not short-term missionaries in God's eternal program. The time will never come when He will turn to them and say, "Sorry, I have no further use for you." Angels will certainly continue their work of praising and worshipping God throughout eternity. They will always be standing by to serve God in any way He desires.12
[AND THEY WILL ALWAYS BE “FRIENDS” TO GOD’S CHILDREN, HELPING AND SERVING THROUGHOUT ETERNITY; ETERNITY IS A LONG LONG TIME, GOT TO BE MANY THINGS FOR US AND ANGELS TO DO - Keith Hunt]
Angels in John's Revelation
In the Book of Revelation there are angels of the seven churches, angels who stand before God, angels who blow seven trumpets, and angels who administrate the last seven plagues (Rev. 8:2).
Some people believe the twenty-four elders in Revelation 4 and 5 are angelic beings who attend God along with the cherubim, seraphim, and the living creatures. Other scholars believe these twenty-four elders may actually be the twelve patriarchs of Israel and the twelve apostles. There is not enough evidence to prove either view.
[OH YES THERE IS EVIDENCE; NO HUMAN HAS EVER GONE INTO IMMORTALITY ECCEPT JESUS; HE WAS AND IS THE ONLY FIRST-BORN FROM THE DEAD, AT PRESENT. THE 24 ELDERS ARE LIVING SPIRIT BEINGS CREATED BY JESUS WHO CREATED ALL THERE IS NEXT TO THE GODHEAD. WE NEED NOT KNOW ANY MORE ABOUT THESE ELDERS IN HEAVEN AT THIS TIME; WE SHALL KNOW MORE AFTER WE ARE BORN INTO THE FAMILY OF GOD - Keith Hunt]
There are angels with the key to the abyss and with a great chain to bind Satan for a thousand years (Rev. 20:1-3).
Last, but not least, are the angels in charge of death and hell (Rev. 6:8; 20:14). In chapter eighteen I will describe why I think that there is actually an angel named Death and an angel named Hell.
There is another angel in the Old Testament called the angel of Jehovah, who some think was Jesus Himself appearing on Earth from time to time.13 (See Appendix C.)
[YES SUCH WAS THE CASE….. JESUS AS PART OF THE GODHEAD DID APPEAR ON EARTH FROM TIME TO TIME, FROM GENESIS TO MALACHI AS I’VE PROVED UNDER “ALL ABOUT GOD.” - Keith Hunt]
Angels minister to believers by revealing, guiding, providing, protecting, delivering, strengthening, encouraging, assisting in answering prayer, and attending the righteous dead. In Luke 16, Jesus told a story in which a beggar named Lazarus died and was carried by angels to "Abraham's bosom" (v. 22). Many people on their deathbeds have spoken aloud of angels appearing to escort them home to heaven, and some of these angels have been seen by friends and loved ones.
[NOPE NO SUCH THING AS “ANGELS ESCORTING PEOPLE TO HEAVEN”—— THOSE WHO HAVE SO SEEN, WERE SEEING LYING DEMONIC SPIRITS SO DOING. WE DO NOT GO TO HEAVEN AT DEATH; ALL PROVED UNDER “DEATH AND RESURRECTION” SECTION OF THIS WEBSITE - Keith Hunt]
Other people have testified to receiving angelic protection. Boice wrote that, from a practical standpoint, becoming more aware of such protection would cause us to be less fearful of circumstances and enemies. Being convinced of angelic protection would loosen the fears haunting many of God's people. Reformer John Calvin thought that God cares for us through angels, not because He needs them, but because we do!
[YES ANGELS DO AT TIMES PROTECT US; I KNOW I HAVE BEEN PROTECTED FROM SERIOUS INJURY DOWN MY LIFETIME TO MY AGE OF 76 AS OF 2019 - Keith Hunt]
What Angels Cannot Do
We think of angels as mighty and powerful and without limits. However, there are certain things they cannot do.
* Angels cannot call God "Father," only "Creator."
* Angels cannot preach the gospel in the same way as those who have been saved by the gospel can. Marilyn Hickey wrote:
Have you noticed that in the Bible, humans always preach the gospel to other humans? Although there are perhaps millions of elect angels and although God could send angels to share the gospel with people all over the earth, the Lord has seen fit to entrust the Great Commission to humans, not angels.14
* Angels cannot be redeemed or conformed to the image of Christ.
* Angels in God's service cannot indwell men. Only the Holy Spirit can. Billy Graham wrote:
The Holy Spirit seals them [men] and indwells them when He has regenerated them. The Holy Spirit is all-knowing, all-present, and all-powerful. Angels are mightier than men, but they are not gods, and they do not possess the attributes of the Godhead. So far as I know, no scripture says that the Holy Spirit ever manifested Himself in human form to man. We know the Holy Spirit as spirit, not flesh. But we can know angels not as spirits alone, but sometimes also in visible form.15
* Angels of God do not act on their own power or out of their own wills.
* Angels can appear as men, but they never "become" human beings; and human beings never "become" angels. Angels are not glorified human beings. In Hebrews 12:22-23, angels are distinguished from the "spirits of righteous men made perfect."
* Angels do not judge men, but righteous men will judge angels (1 Cor. 6:3).
* Angels cannot be everywhere at the same time. Only God is omnipresent.
* Angels of God do not command or receive worship; only "angels of light" do that as a perversion of their first estate. The late Roland Buck said:
Angels are never to be worshipped. They are so ordained and created that there is no place in their entire being for praise or honor. They are called "the hosts of the Lord," and their purpose is to serve the eternal God.16
Buck said that his angelic visitors told him they had a list of seven priorities about what they are to communicate to us from God. They are: (1) the blood of Jesus; (2) fellowship and communion with God; (3) "Jesus is alive!"; (4) the promise of the Holy Spirit; (5) "Go tell the world"; (6) "The atonement of Jesus is everlasting"; and (7) "Jesus will return."17
[ALL THESE THINGS THE NEW TESTAMENT TEACHES US! NO NEED FOR AN ANGEL TO COME TELL US. AND DID THE SO-CALLED ANGEL TO BUCK TELL HIM THAT THE 4TH COMMANDMENT IS STILL IN EFFECT AND IS NOT SUNDAY, BUT SATURDAY? NOPE I DO NOT THINK SO, BUT IF A REAL ANGEL HAD APPEARED TO BUCK, BILLY GRAHAM, AND OTHER PROTESTANTS, THAT ANGEL WOULD HAVE TOLD THEM TO OBSERVE THE 7TH DAY NOT THE FIRST. JUST ABOUT ALL PROTESTANT AND ROMAN CATHOLIC PEOPLE WHO CLAIM AN ANGEL CAME TO THEM, IT WAS NOT FROM GOD, BUT AN ANGEL IN THE FORM OF LIGHT TO DECEIVE [2 COR. 11: 13-15]. WHEN SOMEONE [ESPECIALLY A SO-CALLED “MINISTER”] HAS SEEN ONE OF THESE DECEPTIVE DEMONS, IT IS JUST ABOUT IMPOSSIBLE FOR ME TO CONVINCE THEM THEY SHOULD BE OBSERVING THE 7TH DAY FOURTH COMMANDMENT, AND NOT SUNDAY. IT’S LIKE THE GUY WHO CALLED ME ON THE PHONE AND ASKED IF I BELIEVED IN “SPIRITUAL GIFTS” AND I SAID I DID. HE THEN SAID, “I SPEAK IN TONGUES, SO I HAVE THE HOLY SPIRIT, AND I DO NOT OBSERVE THE 4TH COMMANDMENT AND THE 7TH DAY.” BACK TO FRONT UPSIDE-DOWN REASONING; NEVER THINKING HE MAY HAVE A WRONG SPIRIT WORKING WITH HIM - Keith Hunt]
Angels are creations of God, and under the discretion of the Holy Spirit they help us carry out our assignments as believers.
However, not all angels are on God's side, nor do all angels have good intentions toward mankind. There is another realm of angels to be considered before we can get a complete picture of these beings. This realm is the dark kingdom of Satan.
To be continued