5. BASIC BIBLE DOCTRINES – THE STUDY OF ANGELS

In both the Old and New Testaments we read of Angels, God’s created beings, who are His “messengers” to human beings; and we will consider this role for our study. “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?”

THEIR ORIGIN

We determine from what the Scriptures indicate that all things as we know them today were created by Christ, whether they be human or otherwise . We also understand that Angels were created before the heavens and the earth, or any other creatures including mankind since it is evident that they were there at the time of creation; nor do they reproduce their kind . They were created individually and all at the same time. They were also all similar in nature, in holiness and obedience to God, until the fall of Lucifer who was referred to as “the anointed cherub”. The Scriptures also teach that there are two classifications of Angels – “fallen ones” who followed Lucifer in rebellion against God, and those that resisted the temptation to follow Lucifer.

LOYAL ANGELS

The character of the Angels that remained loyal to God is also described for us in Scripture, as we are informed of what they are and what they do. They are called “spirits” and are called “holy” . They are usually invisible to mankind, but on some occasions they have appeared in human form to carry out God’s will and command . Therefore, we can understand that they are created by God without sin, and continue to remain sinless, for the express purpose of being His servants.

There are also different categories of Angels mentioned in Scripture. There is Michael the “archangel” or “chief” whose service was specifically to the nation Israel. There is the Angel “Gabriel”who brought “good news” and “revealed” difficult things . The word “seraphim” or “burning ones” is another term used for guardians of the Throne of God . Then there are the “cherubim”that guard the way to the Tree of Life and are also seen in the Tabernacle and the Temple . The seraphim and the cherubim are not specifically referred to as angels but are generally accepted as such.

Another name for angel used specifically in the Old Testament is the phrase “Angel of Jehovah” or “Angel of the LORD” where the word Jehovah or the capitalized form “LORD” represents the personal name of God, and a careful study of the passages reveals that the Angel of Jehovah is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ in His pre-incarnate appearance of Deity .

These Angels are committed as God’s servants to His people and are like humans in that they possess intellect ; sensibility ; and resolve ; and because of these characteristics, their strength and great numbers, they are able to assist mankind as God directs . They had widespread service to Christ in His ministry: in creation they honoured Him ; in the foretelling of His predecessor ; His birth ; and His birth announcement to the shepherds . They ministered to Him during His temptation ; encouraged Him in Gethsemane and were prepared to defend Him from being arrested by the Roman soldiers . They rolled away the stone of the empty tomb at His resurrection, guarded the evidence, and announced His resurrection to His followers . They predicted His second coming ; rejoice in the salvation of sinners ; and will be prominent when Christ returns to reign as King and to judge the unrighteous .

Other scripture references relating to their service to mankind and the nations are numerous .

We should not have an unbelieving attitude in regards to Angels, nor should we attempt the worship of Angels, for this is NOT taught by Scripture .

SATAN

His first appearance in Scripture, in the form of a serpent, is seen in the temptation and the fall of mankind some time after the creation. This introduces the question “Where did sin originate?” and “Who was the source of it?” One thing is certain and that is – God was not the source! Our Lord Jesus Christ gives us a description of Satan and where sin originated: “You belong to your father, the devil, …….He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” ; where the statement from the beginning” is not a reference to Satan’s creation but at the beginning of his rebellion.

The original “fall”or rebellion of Satan is seen in two Old Testament passages ; in the Ezekiel  account he is referenced to the king of Tyre where the power behind the throne (king) is none other than Satan himself, as many of the details could not be applied to an actual human. He is called Lucifer or “Light-bearer”, or “Morning Star” , and had a high position of trust, filled with beauty and wisdom and was responsible for a part of the universe. Pride entered his heart and sin entered God’s creation; “You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I willsit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit.” , as he resolved to go against the desire or will of God. Many of the angels, possibly one-third, supported Satan thus sharing in his sin and fell from the grace of God with Satan ; all were instantly cast out of God’s presence and fell with Satan, their final judgment is in the future and is absolutely certain .

Scripture refers to him by various names: before his fall he is called Lucifer:  the Wicked or Evil one ; an Enemy ; the Serpent; a murderer and father of lies ; in an even more violent term he is called a dragon; and is dangerous to believers because of the way he disguises himself . One of his principal names is the Devil which means “accuser”, constantly accusing us before God and the angels that God shows favouritism to us as believers . He is also called the Tempter . Other names used in reference to Satan are: Beelzebub the prince of the demons ; ruler of the kingdom of the air ; the prince of this world ; the god of this world (age) .

His greatest activity in the world is deception, and the promotion and establishment of false religious teachings, in a concentrated effort to turn the heart of mankind against God. He is an actual and powerful being with clever intelligence and a will of his own.

DISLOYAL ANGELS

Such are the angels that rebelled against God and supported Lucifer, and have become Satan’s demons or evil spirits that are loose on the earth. Since Satan is not omnipotent or omnipresent he uses these demons to do his work and to gain his desired accomplishments. Some of these disloyal (fallen) angels are already imprisoned awaiting their final judgment , while others are free to serve Satan’s causes. During our Lord’s earthly ministry they were especially active as “unclean spirits or demons”, and should not be overlooked in our present time as they still exist and manifest themselves in humans and even animals. They possess super powers and give such to human beings . During His earthly ministry Christ cast out demons and gave His disciples the power to do so and there was never any suggestion that they were unreal. There is no salvation for fallen angels, and together with the devil they will not be allowed to enter God’s presence, but they will roam the earth and cause great havoc especially during the great tribulation period. After being imprisoned for a thousand years, Satan will be released and will lead a final rebellion against God. His, and the fallen angels, final destiny will be eternal death in the lake of fire or burning sulphur .

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