Are you curious about angels? Angels have always been seen in places like church buildings and cemeteries. But now angels are a fad, you see them everywhere. People are decorating their houses, patios and gardens with angels. Women and girls are wearing angel jewelry. If you're into Web Surfing, you can find an abundance of web pages dedicated to angels. You see angels in movies, like "It's a Wonderful Life" (an oldie), "The Preacher's Wife", and "Michael", "Angels in the Outfield", and "Angels in the Inzone". There is even a television show called "Touched By An Angel". Did you know that most people's concept of angels is not based on the Bible? Much of what people believe about angels is based upon imagination and even paganism. Do you know the truth about angels? Do you know what's God's Word says about angels? Well that's what we are going to cover in this study.
God created two worlds, a physical world in which we live, and a spiritual realm which is invisible to us.
16. For by him 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: all things were created by him, and for him:
Let's discuss three spiritual creatures in this realm.
The first mentioned in the scriptures is the cherub (or cherubim in the plural). God placed Cherubim along with a twirling flaming sword at east of the garden of Eden to guard the tree of life (Genesis 3:24). The Tabernacle and Temple and some of their furnishing were decorated with images of cherubim (Exodus Chapters 25, 26, 36, & 37; I Kings, Chapters 6-8). The Ark of the Covenant was decorated with images of cherubim (Exodus 25:16-20). Two gold cherubim faced each other with their wing spread covering the mercy seat. Two fifteen foot tall cherubim stood in the midst of the Holy Place within the Temple with their wings outspread. Ezekiel had a vision of cherubim (Ezekiel Chapter 10). They each had four wings. We also read that the cherubim in his vision also had four faces. The first the face of a cherub, the second the face of a man, the third a face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle. Ezekiel 10:12 also says that their whole bodies were full of eyes.
The Hebrew word, seraph, is used four times in the Old Testament. It means fiery or burning one. It is translated fiery twice in Numbers Chapter 21 to describe the serpents that God sent to punish the Israelites. It is also translated fiery in Isaiah 30:6 to describe flying serpents which seem symbolic of the treachery that came out of the land of Egypt. In Isaiah Chapter 6, we find the same word translated seraphim used as a noun. In Isaiah's vision of God on His throne, he saw creatures having six wings standing above God. With two wings they covered his face, two wings covered his feet, and with two wings he flew.
Angels (messanger) are the most commonly known spiritual creatures being mentioned at least 109 times in the Old Testament and 180 times in the New Testament.
Where Did Angels Come From?
Many people believe that angels are people who have died and went to be with God in Heaven where they are made angels. I suppose it is comforting to believe that a loved one that has gone on before us is now watching over us with supernatural powers to provide protection and comfort. What does the Bible say about where angels came from?
Angels were, as everything and everyone else, created by God
(Psalms 148:1-5; Colossians 1:16,17).
Psalms 104:4 says that he made angels spirits. Angels were created in spiritual form, they never were of the flesh.
According to Job 38:4-7, Angels were with God when he laid the foundations of the earth. Therefore their creation preceded man's.
Though we do not become angels, we will be as angels after the resurrection having a spiritual body that will never die (Matthew 22:30; Luke 20:35,36).
While we are on the subject, we find from Matthew 22:30 and Luke 20:35, 36, not only do Angels not die, they also do not marry. Angels are spiritual beings, they do not have physical relations. This tells us that the "sons of God" mentioned in Genesis 6:3 could not have been angels, as many people believe. These sons of God were descendants of Seth as indicated in Genesis 4:26.
Angels have names.
There is Michael the archangle (Jude, Verse 9 and Revelation 12:7). We all remember Gabriel who spoke to Daniel and who also foretold the birth of John the Baptist to Zacharius and the birth of Jesus to Mary. But while they probably all have names, they are not revealed to us for a reason. In Judges 13:18, an angel announced the birth of Samson to Manoah, but when asked for his name he answered that it was a secret. The reason was revealed in verses 15 through 17, Manoah, not knowing he was an angel, intended to worship the him.
What Do Angels Look Like?
Angels in art are usually pictured as fat naked babies (like Cupid?) or beautiful women in long flowing robes. We always picture angels with wings. What does the Bible say that Angels look like? Angels are spiritual beings with spiritual bodies. They seem to be able to appear as anything thy want, or not be seen at all (See Numbers 22). If they are ever referred to as any certain gender, it is always masculine. They are described as men, which also would lead you to believe that they appeared as adults. There is no record of an angel appearing as a woman or an infant. And although angels fly, there is no record in the scriptures of them having wings.
Sometimes, you wouldn't recognize an angel if you saw one (Hebrews 13:2), but other times they were easily recognized (Genesis 32:1,2; Judges 6:22). An angel appeared to Moses in a burning bush (Exodus 3:2). They sometimes appear as men wearing white apparel (Matthew 28:2-5; John 20:12; Acts 1:9-11). Sometimes they carried a sword (Numbers 22:31; Joshua 5:13,14; 1 Chronicles 21:16).
What Do Angels Do?
Angels are messengers. That's what the word angel means. The times that God sent angels to give a message or a sign to His people are too numerous to cover in this lesson, but let's just look at the births foretold by angels:
- Ishmael - Genesis 16:7-11
- Samson - Judges 13
- John the Baptist - Luke 1:5-13
- Jesus Christ - Luke 1:26-33
Angels announced the birth of Jesus and directed the shepherds where to find Him (Luke 2:8-18). The archangel will announce the return of Jesus Christ (I Thessalonians 4:16).
Sometimes Angels were God's rescue squad delivering His people from harm.
Angels are God's army. Lead by Michael, they fought the Devil and his angles in Heaven (Rev. 12:7-9). They have chariots (Psalms 68:17). These chariots stood ready to defend Elisha from the Syrians (II Kings 6:17). One angel destroyed the Assyrian army (185,000 men) to protect Jerusalem (II Kings 19:34,35).
- They led Lot and his family out of Sodom (Genesis 19:15,16).
- An angel saved Hagar and Ishmael from dying of thirst in the wilderness (Genesis 21:15-19).
- It was an angel that stopped Abraham from sacrificing Issac Genesis 22:10-13).
- An angel protected Shadrach, Meschach, and Abeb-nego from the fire (Daniel 3:23-28).
- An angel protected Daniel from the lions (Daniel 6:22).
- An angel warned Joseph of Herod's plans to kill the baby Jesus (Matthew 2:13).
- An angel led Peter out of prison a couple of times (Acts 5:19,20; 12:7-10).
Angels were given a special charge to protect Jesus from harm (Psalms 91:11,12). Jesus could have called down angels to deliver him from the Jews (Matthew 26:52,53). They ministered to Jesus after his temptation (Matthew 4:11), and as he prayed on the Mount of Olives (Luke 22:41-44).
Angels will be God's harvesters at the end of time (Matthew 13:39). They shall gather up the saints (Matthew 24:31), and take vengeance on all others (II Thessalonians 1:7,8).
The Relationship Between Men and Angels
All of God's creation was made by him and for him (Colossians 1:16). Men and angels are to keep God's commandments (Ecclesiastes 12:13, Psalms 103:
All men have sinned (Romans 3:23). Some angels have sinned (II Peter 2:4; Jude 6) and were cast out heaven and are held in Tartarus. The Bible does not reveal any kind of plan of salvation for angels, but they desire to look into the gospel that was sent down from heaven to man (I Peter 1:12). Angels rejoice when men repent (Luke 15:10).
Angels are mightier than men (II Peter 8:11). Man was made a little lower than the angels (Psalms 8:4, 5). Yet God set man over all his creation, not angels (Psalms 8:4-8). Angels minister to the heirs of salvation (Hebrews 1:13, 14). Angels are not to be worshiped by men (Colossians 2:18).
What have we learned?
1)Angels were created by God before man was created.
2)Angels can take on the appearance of man, or not be seen at all. We don't have any record of them appearing as women or babies.
3)Angels do not die and do not marry. Angels can commit sin.
4)Angels are messengers, warriors, guardians, ministers, and rescuers.
5)Angels rejoice when one person repents.
6)Angels have powers beyond man.
7)Angels are the creation of God, so they are not to be worshiped or prayed to by man.
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