THE DOCTRINE OF ANGELS   [Part 1]

(Lesson 06 on Bible Doctrines) 




I. INTRODUCTION

  1. The doctrine of angels includes elect angels, fallen angels (demons), and Satan.
  2. There are many “best-sellers” in the bookstores dealing with angels but most of them are unscriptural and are written by occultists, Mormons, Roman Catholics, and charismatics.  These books are loaded with “new-age” philosophy, spiritualism, strange charismatic teachings, and other devilish nonsense. Christians must be careful to exercise discernment (cf. I John 4:1-4).
  3. The word translated “angel” literally means “messenger” and can sometimes be used for human messengers.  For example, John the Baptist is called God’s messenger (Matt. 11:10), and the angels of the seven churches in Asia Minor are probably the pastors of the churches (Rev. 2 and 3).
  4. The messengers of John (Luke 7:24), the messengers of our Lord (Luke 9:52), and the messengers (spies) from Joshua (James 2:25) were all human messengers. The same Greek word, angelos, is used in all of these Scriptures.
  5. There is some indication that certain people (e.g., believers and children) have “guardian angels” watching over them (cf. Gen. 48:16; Dan. 3:28; 6:22; Matt. 18:10; Acts 12:15; Heb. 1:13, 14).
  6. “The angels are a distinct order of creation and have been given a heavenly position, or sphere, above the sphere of man (Ps. 8:5; Heb. 2:7; Rev. 5:11; 7:11).  Three heavens are mentioned in the New Testament (II Cor. 12:2), and in the Old Testament the word heaven is plural.  When entering the human sphere, Christ was thereby, for a little time made lower than the angels (Heb. 2:9); when returning to Heaven, Christ again passed through the angelic sphere (Heb. 4:14; 9:24) and was seated far above principalities and powers (Eph. 1:20, 21)” – Lewis Sperry Chafer, Major Bible Themes.
  7. The pre-incarnate Christ is often identified in the Old Testament as “the angel of the LORD” (Ex. 14:19; 23:20; cf. I Cor. 10:1-4).

 

II. ANGELS ARE SPIRIT BEINGS, IMMATERIAL AND INCORPOREAL

  1. Angels were created by God early in the creation week (Job 38:7; Ps. 148:1-5; Col. 1:16).
  2. Angels can take the form of a man (Gen. 6:1,2; Acts 1:10, 11).
  3. Our Lord said that in the resurrection, we will neither marry nor be given in marriage, but will be “as the angels of God in heaven” (Matt. 22:30). Because of this Scripture, some believe that Genesis 6:1, 2 cannot be referring to fallen angels (cf. Scofield Study Bible, p. 13). However, both II Peter 2:4 and Jude 6 seem to refer to the incident in Genesis 6.
  4. Merrill Unger wrote: “Scholarly efforts to make ‘sons of God’ pious Sethites and ‘the daughters of men’ ungodly Cainites simply do not come to grips with the difficulties of the passage.  The sample sin plumbs the depths of pre-Flood wickedness.  It was far more serious than mixed marriages between believers and unbelievers.  It was a catastrophic outburst of occultism such as will precipitate the return of the days of Noah at the end of the present age at the glorious advent of Christ (Matt. 24:24, 37-39)” – Unger’s Commentary on the Old Testament; italics in the original).
  5. Angels cannot die (Luke 20:36).
  6. Angels appear in dreams (Matt. 1:20) and visions (Isaiah 6).
  7. Angels are spirits (Heb. 1:14). They have personality.  They possess intelligence (I Peter 1:12), show emotions (Luke 2:13), and have wills (Jude 6).

 

III. O.T. REFERENCES TO ANGELS (about 108 references)

  1. As stated above, the “angel of the LORD” is often the pre-incarnate Christ (cf. Gen. 16:7-13; 21:17-19; 22:11-16).
  2. An angel executed judgment upon Israel after David “sinned greatly” in numbering the people (II Sam. 24:16).
  3. Isaiah saw seraphims and each one had six wings (Isa. 6:2, 3).
  4. Ezekiel saw cherubims (Ezek. 10), angels with wings identical to the four beasts (or “living creatures,” cf. Ezek. 1:5) of Rev. 4:6; 5:6; 6:1; etc.
  5. Daniel refers to Gabriel (9:20-27) and to Michael (10:13; 12:1), called the “archangel” (Jude 9), who seems to have a special role as the protector of Israel.
  6. Zechariah was visited by an angel (1:9ff).
  7. Angels protect God’s people from harm (Ps. 34:7; 91:11; 103:20).

 

IV. N.T. REFERENCES TO ANGELS (about 165 references)

  1. They were at the birth of Jesus (Matt. 1:20; 2:13,19; Luke 1:11, 26; 2:9, 13-15).
  2. They ministered to our Lord during His earthly ministry (Mark 1:13).
  3. They were present at the crucifixion of our Lord (Matt. 26:53; Luke 22:43)
  4. They were with our Lord at His ascension into heaven (Acts 1:10, 11).
  5. They will accompany our Lord when He returns (Matt. 24:27-31; 25:31; II Thess. 1:7).
  6. We see angels throughout the book of Acts (5:19; 8:26; 10:1-7; 12:5-11; 27:23-25).
  7. The author of Hebrews says that angels are “innumerable” (12:22).
  8. There are about 65 clear references to angels in the book of Revelation (4:6; 5:8; 7:1, 2; etc.).

 

V. ANGELS HAVE VARIOUS RANKS AND ORDERS

  1. They are very organized (I Kings 22:19).
  2. They have ready access to the throne of God (Job 1:6; 2:1).
  3. They are subject to the Lord Jesus Christ (I Peter 3:22).
  4. Satan’s demons are also very well organized (Rev. 2:13; 12:7).
  5. The elect angels have their ranks (Eph. 3:10); and the fallen angels have theirs also (Eph. 6:12).
  6. Michael is apparently the only archangel (Jude 9; cf. I Thess. 4:16).

Pastor James Barker
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