Before we begin, let us take care of some of the more theological questions
that have come up from time to time concerning the angelic host.
How do you spell angels? ANGLES OR ANGELS? IT IS SPELLED ANGELS! I don't
know how many times I have seen teachers and pastors spell this word incorrectly.
It is similar to the word that describes the book of Psalms. Each individual
section is a Psalm, not the plural Psalms. Often I hear pastors asking
their congregation to turn to Psalms 15. It is the 15th Psalm in the book
Now, to answer some of the great theological questions of our time:
1. How many angels can rest on the point of a needle? The entire host
- stacked on top of one another.
2. Can two angels occupy the same space at the same time? Sure - spirit's
don't occupy space.
3. How many angels walking side by side can walk through the eye of
a needle? None, any angelic being big enough to roll the stone from the
grave is to big to fit through the eye of a needle.
That out of the way, we can move on to other things. In relation to
the angels, if you accept the Biblical record, you will have ample proof
of angels existence. If you don't, you won't!
They are mentioned from Job and Genesis to Revelation. They are in 34
books of the Bible. They are mentioned over 300 times in the Scriptures.
There seems to be ample evidence of their existence, even though we cannot
"Angel" means messenger.
1. Angels are created beings: Ps. 148:2-5 Verse 5 mentions of angels
and the heavens, "...for he commanded, and they were created." Col 1:16,
mentions that all things were created by Christ. The creation included
principalities and powers of the air. The angelic host and demonic contingent
are all within this classification of beings. (see Jn 1:1-3 also)
It might cross one's mind as to the method of their creation. Man was
created and then woman was created. Did God create the lower angels first,
then move on to the Archangels, or begin with the higher and work to the
lower. We will not get into which He did when creating man and woman. (Some
womens libers suggest that God created man and then corrected his mistake
and created woman. Others suggest that when God created, She created woman
first and then man. If you reject the Scripture, you can come up with all
sorts of false teaching can't you!)
We might assume since there is no marriage among the angels, and that
the angels are masculine, that ALL of the angels were created at the same
time. There may have been time intervals between the angels but all at
Ps. 148: 2,5 mentions the following concerning their creation. Verse
two, "Praise ye him, all his angels; praise ye him, all his hosts." Verse
five, "Let them praise the name of the Lord; for he commanded, and they
There is some discussion as to when they were created. Refer to the
notes on Lucifer for more on this question. Chafer mentions, "According
to Scripture, long before the creation of man God created an innumerable
company of beings described as angels." (Taken from the book, MAJOR BIBLE
THEMES by Lewis Sperry Chafer and John F. Walvoord. First edition copyright
1926, 1953 by Dallas Theological Seminary. Revised edition copyright 1974
by Dallas Theological Seminary. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing
House. p 151f) Others are just as plain that the creation of angels was
at another time.
Ryrie mentions, "The Bible does not undebatably state the time of their
creation. They were present when the earth was created (Job 38:7, NIV)
so their creation had to be prior to the Creation of the earth." (Ryrie,
Charles C.; "BASIC THEOLOGY"; Wheaton: Victor Books, 1986, p 124)
2. Angels are everlasting, but not eternal: They are like man, in that
all of us were created beings, not having eternal presence in the past.
We began at a point in time. We will, both angels and mankind, continue
to exist into eternity future so are everlasting, but only God is eternal
(Lu. 20:36 mentions that the angels never die). It is good that the Lord
defeated the Devil or he would continue as he is for eternity future.
3. Angels are spirit beings: Heb. 1:13, 14 tells us that they are ministering
spirits, yet they do seem to appear in human form at times. Gen. 19:1 mentions
the two angels that came to take Lot away from Sodom and Gomorrah. Jn 20:12
tells of the angels present when Christ arose. It is to be assumed that
these appearances are similar to the theophanies of the Old Testament when
God appeared to man in the form of men. It is a manifestation of a spirit
being as man.
Whether they take on actual physical characteristics or not is not clear
in Scripture. There is some indication that they do take on physical form,
rather than being an image. The angels that came to Abraham, just before
Sodom and Gomorrah partook of food and drink. This would indicate the physical
form. Also the same beings performed physical activity with man when attempting
to protect and then remove Lot from Sodom (Gen. 18-19).
4. Angels are powerful: II Thes. 1:7 tells us that Christ will appear
with "mighty angels". This term translated mighty is the term from which
we gain our term dynamite. II Pet. 2:11 tells that some have "power and
might". Ps. 103:20, "Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength,
that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word."
Later we will consider the thought that they are ministering spirits.
They have some relationship to us. We should remember that they are powerful
and strong. This will help us relax and trust in the Lord's protection.
5. They are personal beings: They have the traits of personality.
They are intelligent: I Pet. 1:12 mentions that they "...desire to look
into...." certain things which would indicate intelligence.
They have emotion: Lu. 2:13 tells us that they can praise God which
They have a will: Jude 6 tells us that some fell, thus they have a will
with which they can chose. They can reject God's authority.
They are wise: II Sam. 14:20 mentions that angels are wise. "...and
my lord is wise, according to the wisdom of an angel of God...."
6. They do not marry: This is stated in Mk. 12:25, and is indicated
in the fact that they are mentioned in the Masculine gender in Scripture
(Gen. 18:1-2) However Zec. 5:9 mentions two women with wind in their wings.
You can do a research paper on whether they are angels or not. Send me
7. They can fly: Zech. 5:9, "...for they had wings like the wings of
a stork, and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heaven."
Is. 6:2 describes the Seraphim and their six wings ending with the phrase,
"...with two he did fly." Indeed, they fly swiftly according to Dan. 9:21.
It is indicated in Daniel that they use their ability to fly for the
purpose of transportation from one point to another. The ability to fly
may or may not be a literal flapping of the wings type flight. In their
appearance to man, it probably is, yet as spirit beings, they can move
from place to place without a source of motivation. Some might suggest
that it may be the wings that are described in their physical appearance
is merely for man's understanding - that they really don't have wings.
This is a possibility, yet the descriptions of Isa. 6, Ezek. 1, and Rev.
4, of the throne scene seem quite literal.
8. They are innumerable: Heb. 12:22 mentions, "...an innumerable company
of angels." Q. How many is that? Dan 7:10 mentions 10,000 times 10,000
which would be 100 million. Plus there must be more!
9. They are organized: No they don't have a union! There is a level
of "archangels mentioned" which indicates this organization. Jude 9, "Yet
Michael, the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about
the body of Moses...."
There seem to be other archangels: Dan. 10:13 mentions Michael as one
of the "chief princes". There seems to be an organizational structure under
the archangels from Eph. 3:10, "To the intent that now, unto the principalities
and powers in heavenly places, might be known by the church the manifold
wisdom of God,"
Gabriel is mentioned and seems to be of a messenger. Lu. 1:19 mentions,
"...I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and am sent to speak
unto thee, and to show thee these glad tidings." This was to Zacharias
in the announcement of the coming of John The Baptist. Lu. 1:26 tells us
"...Gabriel, was sent from God...." to tell Mary of the Lord's coming.
Dan. 8:16 shows Gabriel as one that could explain something to Daniel.
Again in Dan. 9:21ff Gabriel is shown as revealing things to Daniel. It
could well be that the angel that Michael helped in Dan. 10 was also Gabriel.
Acts 8:26 mentions that an angel directed Phillip to go to the area
where he found the Ethiopian Eunuch. Since Gabriel is a directing and message
bearing angel this may have been him.
Michael seems to be a warrior for the Lord (Dan 10 and Jude 9).
10. They rejoice over the salvation of man: Lu. 15:10, "Likewise, I
say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of god over one
sinner that repenteth." Whether they are happy because God is happy, or
whether they are so involved with mankind that they rejoice, is not mentioned
in Scripture. Since they are ministering spirits, and they seem very involved
with the activities of man, it would seem logical that they are joyful
due to their involvement with man.
We are left to wonder at the relationship between angels and mankind
in the eternal state. We are told from Scripture that mankind will not
have a marital relationship in the eternal state, so we will be in a sense,
very similar to the angelic host. We will be spirit beings as they. What
the relationship will be will be of great interest.
11. Angels learn from man: I Cor. 4:9 indicates that we are examples
to them in some way. That is scary if you think about it. Just when are
you teaching them something? Are they watching when you step into sin?
I assume that they can be watching at any time. This should move us to
more righteous living!
12. Angels are superior to man in some ways: II Sam. 14:20 indicates
that their wisdom is greater than man's. II Sam. 24:15,16 shows an angel
destroying men quite effectively. (70,000 men) Ps. 8:5, "For thou hast
made him [man] a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with
glory and honor."
13. Angels are inferior to man in some ways: I Cor. 6:3 mentions that
man will judge the angels. It is quite possible that this speaks of man
judging the fallen angels, for there is no indication in the Word that
the unfallen angels have a judgment, nor even a need to be judged. Eph.
3:10 tells us that men have knowledge that the angels do not have. It would
seem that both classes have their strengths and weaknesses.
14. They will accompany Christ at his coming: Mt 25:31, "When the Son
of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then
shall he sit upon the throne of his glory." (Mk 8:38 also)
They will accompany Christ, however they do not know the time of that
coming. Mk. 13:32, "But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not
the angels who are in heaven...."
Since the Devil was discussed at length we can gain much insight into
the angels. Everything that is true of Satan's characteristics - personality
- spirit etc. would also be true of the cherubim, indeed all angels.
MINISTRIES OF THE ANGELS:
1. They seem to guard, or minister to believers: Heb. 1:14, "Are they
not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall
be heirs of salvation?" "them who shall be heirs of salvation?" would indicate
Matthew also mentions something that the Lord told them. Mt. 18:10,
"Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto
you that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father,
who is in heaven."
2. They serve or watch over God: Isa. 6:1-3 shows the throne scene of
God. Ezek. 1 and Rev. 4 also mention this same scene. It is the throne
of God and is depicted as being protected by four angelic beings. The beings
are described in great detail. Most feel that these beings are cherubium.
Just why God needs watching over, is not known. I surmise that it is more
of a serving, rather than protecting ministry.
3. They serve as guards: Not to guard God, but rather to guard something
for God. Gen. 3:22-24 tells that the Lord stationed them at the entrance
to the Garden of Eden to bar Adam and Eve from reentering it.
4. They intercede in spiritual battles: In Daniel there is an angel
that had appeared to Daniel and mentioned that he had been delayed. Dan.
10:13, "But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty
days; but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and
I remained there with the kings of Persia." How many of these battles go
on in the spirit world is unknown to us. Since these beings were linked
with countries, it is assumed that when any empire rises and falls, that
there is a spirit world battle as well.
5. They ministered to Christ:
BEFORE HIS BIRTH: Lk. 1:26-33 is the announcement of Christ's coming
birth to Mary.
AFTER HIS BIRTH: Lk. 2:8-13 is the announcement of the Lord's birth
to the shepherds.
AFTER HIS TEMPTATION: Mt 4:11, "Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold,
angels came and ministered unto him."
THEY WERE AVAILABLE FOR HIS PROTECTION: Mt 26:53, "Thinkest thou that
I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than
twelve legions of angels?" Also, the thought is shown in the temptation
of the Lord in Mt. 4:6.
BEFORE THE CROSS: Lk 22:43 mentions that an angel appeared and strengthened
him in the garden just before his arrest.
AFTER BEING RAISED: Mt 28:2 tells that an angel rolled the stone from
the grave entrance.
6. THEY MINISTER TO BELIEVERS: Heb. 1:14, "Are they not all ministering
spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?"
Acts 12:7 tells of Peter's release from prison via an angel. Acts 17:23-24
shows that they ministered in time of trouble for Paul. They are involved
in ministering to saints after their death. Lu. 16:22 mentions that the
beggar Lazarus was carried away by angels. Jude nine mentions that Michael
was involved with the body of Moses after Moses died.
7. THEY MINISTER TO THE NATIONS: Dan. 12:1 mentions Michael as one that
stands for Israel. Revelation is quite specific in the fact that the angels
are involved in the closing out of the end time activities.
8. THEY MINISTER TO THE UNBELIEVERS: If you can call it ministry. Herod
was struck by worms, Acts 12:23, "And immediately an angel of the Lord
smote him, because he gave not God the glory; and he was eaten of worms,
and died." I Chron. 21:15 is the account of the angel destroying people
due to the sin of David.
This shows a real down side to the angelic host, where man is involved.
God deals with man via the angels, and it is not pleasant. The angels are
involved in the separation of righteous and unrighteous in the judgment.
I am reminded of Michelangelo's painting that depicts the angels escorting
the lost to their judgment. The terror pictured on the lost men is indication
that the painter knew well the horribleness of God's judgment.
9. THEY MINISTER TO GOD:
WORSHIP: Heb. 1:6, "...And let all the angels of God worship him." Rev.
5:8-13 pictures the living creatures and the 24 elders Worshiping.
PRAISE: Ps. 148:2, "Praise ye him, all his angels; praise ye him, all
his hosts." (Also Isa. 6:3) Can you imagine a praise service in heaven?
Must be quite a scene!
REJOICE: Job. 38:7, "When the morning stars sang together, and all the
sons of God shouted for joy?"
SERVE: Ps. 103:20, "Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength,
that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word." This
seems to be a class of beings that enjoy serving their God. It is curious
that others of the same class chose not to serve God. Why did the demons
desire to rebel. It must have been linked to the pride of the Devil and
their overall desire to be out from under God's dominion. It is similar
in man. There are believers that desire to serve Him, and believers the
desire to be rid of Him.
SOME LOGICAL CONCLUSIONS CONCERNING ANGELS:
1. They can operate outside the laws of nature. This is due to the fact
that they are spirit, not physical beings.
2. They were created with free choice as is demonstrated by Satan and
those angels that fell with him.
3. There is no salvation provided for the angelic host. This is demonstrated
in that the fallen angels in the pit are to be preserved till the end.
4. Mat 25:31 mentions the "holy angels", which might lead one to conclude
that the unfallen angels have been in some way confirmed in their good
nature. Be this an act of their own will, or more to the logical end, an
act of the Lord.
I Tim 5:21, "I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and
the elect angels...." This term elect has puzzled some for years. There
are two answers that fit.
a. The angels that did not chose to follow Lucifer were confirmed or
elected to be retained as good angels for the Lord's service.
b. There were some that were elect before any angels fell. The non-elect
fell and the elect remained in the Lord's service.
Either position would fit, but don't ask for a verse for either.
5. Since they have no mater, they would be immutable [unchangeable],
save the fact that some fell.
6. They are all ultimately subject to God, even Lucifer and the fallen
1. The angels are an important class of beings to us, even though we
do not realize their presence. They are involved in the rising and falling
of nations. They are involved in our own safety evidently.
2. A text that I have not mentioned that is of interest to us is Heb.
13:1,2, "Let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers;
for thereby some have entertained angels unawares." This text indicates
some items that we need to consider. First of all, the angels are active
now in the church age. Secondly, angels may appear as normal people. And
finally, the Lord may be allowing us, from time to time, to have contact
with these heavenly beings.
Many years ago we had the habit of stopping to help people having trouble
on the road. We still do at times if it seems safe. One night very late
we were returning from Colorado Springs and the snow was heavy plus plus.
It was a very wet, driving snow and almost big drops of rain. A night when
no sane person would be out.
We happened onto an old jalopy of a pickup with the hood raised. I stopped
and walked back to find an old bearded scuzzy looking guy that should have
been in the mountains panning gold, sitting on the radiator with a foot
on each side of the engine with a book of paper matches trying to fix his
truck. The matches would not stay lit and he was having a terrible time.
I went back to our car for a flashlight and some tools and fixed the truck
for him. As I was working, he kept saying over and over how much he appreciated
me stopping and that he didn't even think of anyone stopping to help him.
He was really shocked that anyone would stop.
As I got back into my car fairly well soaked, this passage came across
my mind. Who knows? I have no idea! The situation was so very out of the
ordinary that I had to wonder. The man was so nice, and friendly that I
felt that he could have been more than just an old man in trouble.
3. We have assumed something in this study. We have assumed that there
is one class of being and that general class is angels. We assume also
that there are no other beings.
There are cherubim, seraphim, angels and then there is Lucifer. Are
they all the same beings with varying offices or are they slightly different
types of beings created for the Lord's purposes?
I feel that our study would apply equally well if either were true.
It seems that they are all angelic beings with some differences. Their
qualities and characteristics would be similar.
I personally feel that there may be different classes of angels. There
would be the typical angel, then the archangels, and the cherubim. Again,
don't ask for a verse, however the logic of what we know of the angels
would indicate classes rather than just offices or levels.
4. There seems to be a lack of real study on the subject of the angels
in the practical aspect. Much detail is to be had in the specifics of the
angels, but the practical application is limited. This is partially due
to the fact that the angels are operating in another sphere, and the Scriptures
are silent as to what goes on when they operate in our sphere.
Example: Why do they come so that we can minister to them as Heb. mentions?
Is this for the purpose of testing us? Is it a learning experience for
the angel? Some very good questions for a research paper. (As usual, send
me a copy.)