Do you believe in angels? Do you consider them in the same category as hobbits, dragons, elves, leprechauns, vampires and werewolves? Are they just fanciful imagings of some clever writers? Actually, the Bible says angels are real and, perhaps, different from what you may think.
Movies and television shows have discovered angels. They have not discovered the angels of the Bible for the most part. Most have them appear as humanoid do-gooders involved in saving this person or that. The movie, Michael, seems to have some concept of the correct nature of angels, for Michael considers himself to be a warrior. In Indiana Jones and the Lost Ark, the scene of the angels destroying the Nazis on the island depicts an accurate appearance and role of angels in human life.
Angels are aliens; demons even more so, but that is another newsletter. They are not human in any way, shape, or form. They are not even made of material matter, but of spiritual stuff. On occasion, angels may appear like humans, but even then most people recognize them as angels. They are from heaven, not Earth. They speak an alien language, but can converse in human tongues when necessary. Angels and demons are the only alien life forms visiting the Earth, and they affect our lives more powerfully than any aliens conceived by writers of novels, movies or television.
God created angels before the creation of the universe. They appear to have a certain amount of self-determination because Lucifer and his horde rebelled against God and were cast out of heaven and became Satan and the demons. The other angels chose to remain faithful to God. Their fierce loyalty to God is different from ours. Theirs is more like the loyalty of soldiers to their officers or king.
In fact, angels comprise the army or police force of God. Their thinking and actions seem more attuned to the attitude of soldiers and police officers than ordinary citizens like us. They have ranks and have duties similar to military or law enforcement personnel. Angels exist to enforce the laws of God and to obey His every command. They have and will destroy any evil doers God orders them to. Angels are strong and prone to violence, but not in an evil way. Animals can see them, even when we may not.
They come and go from heaven to Earth by means of some kind of Jacob's ladder. Maybe, they travel through a portal (or gate); yet, as spirit beings, time and space may not pose the same travel restrictions as matter does to us.
Gen. 28:10 ¶ Then Jacob departed from Beersheba and went toward Haran.
Gen. 28:11 He came to a certain place and spent the night there, because the sun had set; and he took one of the stones of the place and put it under his head, and lay down in that place.
Gen. 28:12 He had a dream, and behold, a ladder was set on the earth with its top reaching to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.
Gen. 28:13 And behold, the LORD stood above it and said, I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants.
Gen. 28:14 Your descendants will also be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
Gen. 28:15 Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.
Gen. 28:16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.
Gen. 28:17 He was afraid and said, How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.
Psa. 33:6 ¶ By the word of the LORD the heavens were made,
And by the breath of His mouth all their host.
Col. 1:16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authoritiesall things have been created through Him and for Him.
Luke 20:34 ¶ Jesus said to them, The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage,
Luke 20:35 but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage;
Luke 20:36 for they cannot even die anymore, because they are like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.
Luke 20:37 But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the burning bush, where he calls the Lord THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, AND THE GOD OF ISAAC, AND THE GOD OF JACOB.
Luke 20:38 Now He is not the God of the dead but of the living; for all live to Him.
Num. 22:23 When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way with his drawn sword in his hand, the donkey turned off from the way and went into the field; but Balaam struck the donkey to turn her back into the way.
1Cor. 13:1 ¶ If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
Their Real Appearance
Angels are neither male or female; they are spirit beings without sex. While they may have human faces, they also have non-human ones, like angels, eagles, oxen and lions.
The several ranks correspond to their different appearances. The ranks of angels are: archangels, cherubim, seraphim, thrones, powers, authorities, and rulers - not necessarily in that ranking order. These ranks probably compare to military ranks within the armed services, but the Bible does not really rank the ranks.
The first angel (not the demon, Satan-serpent) mentioned in the Bible is the Genesis angel which guarded the entrance to the Garden. This cherub had a flaming sword, probably not unlike the Jedi swords in Star Wars. Angelic swords may also be some kind of ray-gun instrument because there are verses showing these swords setting objects on fire. Abraham, Lot, Isaac, and Jacob also met angels.
Moses encounters an angel in the burning bush. Perhaps a flaming angel made the bush only appear to be burning but not consumed. These kinds of angels appear to be on fire or are exceedingly bright. The angels at the entrance to Jesus's tomb appeared as lightning. The angel that freed Peter when he was in prison also shown brightly. Some of their faces shine like the sun.
During the Exodus, an angel led the children of Israel toward the land of Canaan and protected them from Pharaoh's belated onslaught. It appeared as a pillar of flame at night and a pillar of cloud during the day.
There is some indication in the Bible that stars maybe angels. Certainly, the sun god is related to Satan. Incidentally, the sun god was the favorite of Constantine, who is considered the one who converted the Roman Empire to "Christianity." He instituted Sunday worship for "Christians" after his beloved sun god.
If stars were fiery angels, it would make the universe part material and part spiritual. But the Bible is really not clear on the subject. It does make for interesting speculation, however.
Imagine a fiery angel appearing on Touched by an Angel. It would inflame everything it "touched."
Later, in Exodus, God instructs Moses to build the Ark of the Covenant. On top of the Mercy Seat on the Ark are two cherubim whose wings form a canopy over it. No indication is given as to whether the wings are made of feathers. Feathers grace the wings of birds, not necessarily angels.
Some cherubim had two wings, many had six wings. Two wings covered their four faces, two covered their feet and two were used to fly. It was probably just as well that their faces would be covered. One description of an angel calls its face as terrible, like those angels in Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. The other three faces were of an oxen, lion and eagle. There were human hands under the wings, almost like bats' paws. And, listen to this, eyes covered their bodies and wings. No wonder angels are sometimes called watchers. We are definitely talking serious aliens here.
His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and the sound of his words like the noise of a multitude. - Dan 10:6
The legs of some angels are like that of a goat and are burnished like bronze. Their bodies were like beryl. Some angels appear as snakes and dragons, like Satan but also good angels. Someone once speculated that the Sphinx is a depiction of an angel. Maybe, maybe not. One angel is described as so huge that it astrides the sea, like the Colosseus at Rhodes, maybe.
When angels appear in human form, the Bible suggests that we might entertain them as strangers. God, thereby, certainly, encourages our hospitality. Sometimes angels take on the appearance of someone they may be guarding. See below.
Judg. 13:6 Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, A man of God came to me and his appearance was like the appearance of the angel of God, very awesome. And I did not ask him where he came from, nor did he tell me his name.
Is. 6:2 Seraphim stood above Him, each having six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.
Gen. 3:24 So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.
Matt. 28:3 And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow.
Ex. 25:20 The cherubim shall have their wings spread upward, covering the mercy seat with their wings and facing one another; the faces of the cherubim are to be turned toward the mercy seat.
(You must read Eze 1:4-28 and especially Eze 10:1-22.
Visitors to Earth
A plethora of television shows and movies depict Earthlings encountering aliens with good and bad consequences. Oddly, most aliens stand no chance against the more ignorant and weaker Earthlings. Many people believe that UFO's exist and knowledge of them is being withheld from us. Remember the hanger at Roswell, NM. Some actually tell stories (fibs or delusions, probably) of abductions by aliens. And these people have definitely not been abducted by angels or demons. God does not allow that.
If any sightings prove not to be some natural phenomenon or man made contrivance, they just might be some angelic or demonic vehicle. While even few righteous actually see angels, and fewer still of the unrighteous, it is an outside possibility that UFO's are angelic vehicular sightings. Far out!
Naturally, any encounter we humans have of these angelic or demonic aliens would definitely have Earthlings as the abject losers. There is much Biblical evidence of angels trouncing evil humans.
Psa. 78:49 He sent upon them His burning anger,
Fury and indignation and trouble,
A band of destroying angels.
Josh. 5:14 He said, No; rather I indeed come now as captain of the host of the LORD. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and bowed down, and said to him, What has my lord to say to his servant?
The Function of Angels
Angels have various functions instituted by God. Aside from their military adventures, angels comprise a major link between God and humans. The Bible names two angels: Gabriel, the archangel that spoke to Mary about Jesus's birth; and Michael, the archangel who pummeled Satan and his horde and sent them reeling to Earth. (Raphael is mentioned in Tobias, a book not accepted as part of the Holy Scriptures.)
God generally spoke to His righteous people through angels. (Only once did God use an angel to communicate to an evil person, Balaam. And the angel almost killed him.) Sometimes, the angel was a conduit between God and people. At first, a person would be talking to an angel, then directly to God; so the angel was the instrument by which communication was carried on between God and the prophet or patriarch. God, therefore, revealed much of His Word through these beings.
God also gave other kinds of messages or information through angels. An angel told Joseph to take Mary and Jesus and flee to Egypt because Herod was about to murder babies up to three years old, and Jesus was in that age group. An angel gave Peter directions after the angel freed him from prison. There are many instances of angels giving directions or other information to the righteous.
An angel brought the good news of Jesus's birth to the shepherds while they tended their flock on a September (or October) night. Then a host of them appeared to praise God for begetting His son to be our savior.
Angels are not ministers like a priest or a reverend, but actually minister to the righteous. One helped Hagar in the wilderness. Another brought food to Jesus after his ordeal with Satan. An angel helped Isaac and Jacob find wives. Another brought food and water to a prophet before a journey.
Yes, the children of the righteous do have guardian angels that report to God. But angels guard more than these children. A cherub, not the adorable child, stood guard outside the garden in Genesis. They, of course, guarded Israel during the Exodus. David says they encamp around the righteous to protect them. Apparently, all the righteous have guardian angels that possibly either resemble them or the angels take on his (or her) appearance. When Peter was released from prison and came to a house of some friends, one of the people thought that Peter was his angel who looked like him. Look-alike angels, I might conjecture, appeared with Jesus when he was transfigured and spoke with Abraham and Moses, both of whom were long dead and buried.
An angel freed Peter from prison. Jesus said that a regiment of angels would come to rescue him if he wanted them. I cannot prove it, but I think angels have protected my property, at least, when I have put them in jeopardy. Once I parked my car in a seedy neighborhood and inadvertently left my doors unlocked and the windows open. I returned and gasped at my inattention and sighed with relief when I found nothing had been touched and the car still there!
Each nation in the world has an angel assigned to it. The evil nations have demons there as well. Many people feel that evil dictators such as Hitler were possessed by Satan or some devilish demon. The Bible does say that demons have come and gone from evil rulers. Good angels do not possess people, but they have undisclosed functions with the nations of the world. We are not alone.
The various branches of the church mentioned in Revelation has an angel as its guardian.
Gen. 21:17 God heard the lad crying; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, What is the matter with you, Hagar? Do not fear, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is.
Gen. 24:7 The LORD, the God of heaven, who took me from my fathers house and from the land of my birth, and who spoke to me and who swore to me, saying, To your descendants I will give this land, He will send His angel before you, and you will take a wife for my son from there.
Psa. 34:7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him,
And rescues them.
Psa. 91:11 ¶ For He will give His angels charge concerning you,
To guard you in all your ways.
Psa. 91:12 They will bear you up in their hands,
That you do not strike your foot against a stone.
Psa. 103:21 Bless the LORD, all you His hosts,
You who serve Him, doing His will.
1Kings 19:5 He lay down and slept under a juniper tree; and behold, there was an angel touching him, and he said to him, Arise, eat.
1Kings 19:6 Then he looked and behold, there was at his head a bread cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank and lay down again.
1Kings 19:7 The angel of the LORD came again a second time and touched him and said, Arise, eat, because the journey is too great for you.
1Kings 19:8 So he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mountain of God.
This is not a title for a book. Angels, some with their eyes all over them, watch over people. And they see everything. I remember I was chatting with a policeman friend of mine who was on duty. Even as we talked his eyes took in everything. Look at that car that went through the light, he said. You see those men over there, they are passing some illegal items among them. He saw everything. He was a watcher, like an angel. Then he was off to do his duty.
Dan. 4:13 ¶ I was looking in the visions in my mind as I lay on my bed, and behold, an angelic watcher, a holy one, descended from heaven.
Dan. 4:14 He shouted out and spoke as follows:
Chop down the tree and cut off its branches,
Strip off its foliage and scatter its fruit;
Let the beasts flee from under it
And the birds from its branches.
Dan. 4:15 Yet leave the stump with its roots in the ground,
But with a band of iron and bronze around it
In the new grass of the field;
And let him be drenched with the dew of heaven,
And let him share with the beasts in the grass of the earth.
Dan. 4:16 Let his mind be changed from that of a man
And let a beasts mind be given to him,
And let seven periods of time pass over him.
Dan. 4:17 This sentence is by the decree of the angelic watchers
And the decision is a command of the holy ones,
In order that the living may know
That the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind,
And bestows it on whom He wishes
And sets over it the lowliest of men.
The Heavenly Host
Don't let the words 'heavenly hosts' confuse you. The host is an avenging army, violent and deadly. At best angels will cause little harm; at worst they destroy with deadly precision.
When Gabriel appeared to Zechariah and spoke with him about the birth of John and all that, Zechariah had trouble believing the angel. He instantly made Zechariah mute. And Zechariah is one of the good guys. Angels do not mess around, we dare not mess around, around them.
When king Herod did not give God glory, an angel immediately killed him. When Balaam's ass refused to go toward an angel, Balaam's eyes were opened to see the angel. This being told Balaam that it was a good thing Balaam did not force the ass to continue because the angel was ready to kill him on the spot.
During that fateful Passover, the angel of death went throughout Egypt to slaughter the first born of all whose lintels of their houses did not have the blood of the lamb on them. Angels also destroyed armies opposed to Israel many times and killed ten of thousands of men.
But the real slaughter has yet to come. Just before Christ returns, angels will kill billions of people, at least three quarters of the people alive at the time. It will be a blood bath.
In the meantime, if you encounter an angel, be very courteous and deferential. They often do not tolerate any disbelief or attitude.
Acts 12:23 And immediately an angel of the Lord struck him because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and died.
Matt. 13:41 The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness,
Matt. 13:42 and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Psa. 78:49 He sent upon them His burning anger,
Fury and indignation and trouble,
A band of destroying angels.
Psa. 78:50 He leveled a path for His anger;
He did not spare their soul from death,
But gave over their life to the plague,
Psa. 78:51 And smote all the firstborn in Egypt,
The first issue of their virility in the tents of Ham.
Luke 1:20 And behold, you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time.
Angels and the Kingdom
The first petition in our prayers is for the Kingdom of God to come. ("Your Kingdom come. . . .") Jesus came to preach the Kingdom and set it up under God. Since the Kingdom is so important to God, it is little wonder that the angels have a role in the Kingdom. No one knows when God will establish His Kingdom on Earth, not Jesus nor the angels, who long to look into what God has revealed to us humans.
They rejoice when anyone repents, and, thus, put themselves under the rule of God. When we confess that Jesus is the Lord and son of God, Jesus confesses us to God and the angels.
Angels were at the tomb after Jesus's resurrection. They were present when Jesus ascended to heaven. They will gather the elect from every part of the world at the end of the age. They will destroy all uncleanness (idolatry) - those who cause sin and do evil - from the Earth to prepare it for Jesus' coming. And when he comes, they will be with him in innumerable numbers.
Rev. 14:15 And another angel came out of the temple, crying out with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, Put in your sickle and reap, for the hour to reap has come, because the harvest of the earth is ripe.
Rev. 14:16 Then He who sat on the cloud swung His sickle over the earth, and the earth was reaped.
Our Relation with Angels
For now angels minister to and guard us, among other things. They are wiser, stronger, more perfect beings than we. Just as Jesus was made a little lower than angels; so are we. But when the Kingdom comes, we will judge angels and rule over them.
They Stand and Worship
Unlike the soldier who comes before the officer or commander and salutes, the angels come before God and sing praises and give voice to their adoration of Him. They praised God when Jesus was born. They never cease to worship God and rejoice at the success of His plans to create for Himself a family and a Kingdom of faithful followers. Amen.
God's creation extends beyond the physical universe which had to come first. It extends to the spirit world inhabited by these amazing creatures, not of this Earth. Their variety, power, wisdom teaches us a lot about God's creation.
These angels serve God well by also serving, guarding, instructing, and leading us. They demonstrate God's mercy and love toward us.
Their loyalty, worship, and obedience is an example to us, as well. They are deeply involved in helping us attain the Kingdom. And, God willing, when we enter the Kingdom, these mighty beings will be ruled by us.
Mal'ak - messenger, superhuman, agent.
Kowkab - shining orb, prince.
Cherubim - a cherub or imaginary figure.
Seraph - burning, i.e. (fig.) poisonous (serpent); spec. a saraph or symbol. Creature (from their copper color).
- Gil Kovacs
for the Sabbath Christian Church