The Apple Of God's Eye

March 6, 2011

The Mystery Of Angels

Angelic beings have always been a mystery to people on the earth. Do they exist? Is there a Satan the devil, or is it just a bunch of religious fiction to scare people?

The Bible reveals a very real but invisible world—another dimension, as some choose to call it—existing along with our own, absolutely indiscernible to our five senses. This is the spirit world.

In the first chapter of Hebrews, we read of angels serving as God’s secret messengers, sent forth to minister to those God has called to salvation and eternal life. Contrarily, in Ephesians 6 its stated that our contentions and strivings are in fact not with other human people, but against “principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness [evil spirits] in high places.” ‘So what’s going on? Are there good guys, bad guys in the spiritual realm? Believe it or not, that’s exactly what your Bible says.

Fallen angels (demons) are the cause of all the major problems in this world. In Ephesians 2:2, humans have been walking “according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air [Satan], the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.” People simply do not realize that there is an invisible spirit power injecting into their minds these hostile attitudes.

This invisible spirit world (Col. 1:15-16) is very real but because it is invisible it has been a mystery. The fact that holy angels and evil spirits are invisible does not negate their existence. In truth the invisible spirit world is more real than the material and the visible. The Bible explains: “If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world [Satan] hath blinded the minds of them which believe not” (II Cor. 4:3-4). Satan is the god of this world, and believe it or not, he influences not only the masses, but also 99.9% of religions today. That is why we see such a confusing mess of doctrines, man made edicts, wrong interpretations of deity, idol worship and so on.

Creation and appearance of angels

God, through the Word first designed and created spirit beings—angels—perhaps millions or billions! Because they were created by God, they are called sons of God (Job 1:6), but they were not begotten and born sons of God. They were created before the creation of matter. The Bible speaks of the creation of the earth in the 38th chapter of Job, and that all the angels shouted for joy at that time (verse 7). Therefore all the angels were already in existence when the earth was first created.

Angels are spirit beings (Heb. 1:14), wholly composed of spirit;  with no blood circulating in veins and do not need the breath of air to sustain life. They have self-containing inherent life, as well as the ability to take on human form. When angels appeared to humans in the Bible, they resembled normal males. In Gen. 18:1-19, God and two angels appeared as men and actually ate a meal with Abraham. Angels appear as men many times throughout the Bible (Josh. 5:13-14, Mark 16:5), but  never appear in the likeness of women.

Though angels usually take on the form of man, they may reveal part of their glory, which can make their appearance terrifying to those who encounter them. Often the first words from these angels were “do not be afraid.”  Zacharias was speechless (Luke 1:12), the keepers of Jesus’ tomb became as dead men at their sight (Matt. 28:4), and the shepherds in the fields (Luke 2) were “sore afraid.”

Angels are also spoken of as a flaming fire in Psalm 104:4, whereas in contrast, God their Creator is a consuming fire (Heb. 12:29), or the greater glory. One of the most complete descriptions of an angel is in Daniel 10:5-6: “I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of the finest gold around his waist. His body was like chrysolite, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude.” The angel guarding Jesus’ tomb was similarly described: “His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow” (Matt. 28:3).

Whenever gender is specifically “assigned” to an angel in scripture, it is male (Gen. 19:10-12, Rev. 7:2, 8:3, 10:7). But as for the gender of angels, it is sexless (as described in Matt. 22:30). They don’t procreate nor marry, so there is no need for gender.

In general, angels are incredibly beautiful. First, Ezekiel tells us that Lucifer’s beauty was such that it caused his heart to be “lifted up” in pride. The religious world does not know about angels. They are NOT naked little babies flying about with wings. That is a deception of the greatest magnitude. Angels, as previously described, as magnificent and powerful creatures of high intellect, capable of independent thinking (Ezek.28, Isaiah 14), and glorious beyond words in appearance.

Rank Of Angels

Generally there are three types of angels spoken of in the Bible:

  1. Cherubim
  2. Seraphim
  3. Holy (ordinary) angels

The Cherubim and Seraphim are often similar, but still distinguishable.

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Cherubim:

There are only two archangels (besides Lucifer) mentioned by name: Michael is a warrior angel who has to guard Israel and the Church, and Gabriel who is more literary (one of the principal messengers of God). However, Dan. 10 says Gabriel can hold his own, as shown in a three week battle against Satan which was a stalemate. Gabriel’s name means “hero of God,” and he was entrusted with important messages such as those delivered to Daniel (Daniel 8:16; 9:21), to Zacharias (Luke 1:18-19), and to Mary (Luke 1:26-38).

The word Archangels is from Strong’s # G743 (ἀρχάγγελος) archaggelos (pronounced ar-khang’-el-os). This word means a chief angel: – archangel. Arch means first. From this meaning, and knowing that Lucifer was an Archangel, we can deduce that they were probably the first created and first in authority.

The word “archangel” occurs in only two verses of the Bible. I Thess. 4:16 states, “For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.”

Jude verse 9 declares, “But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!'” Jude verse 9 uses the definite article “the archangel Michael,” and Dan. 10:13 describes Michael as “one of the chief princes.” His name means “who is like unto God?” (Daniel 10:21; 12:1; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; Jude 9; Revelation 12:7-10).

Cherubim are spoken of in other terms also – living creatures, mighty and strong angels, or trumpet angels. Ezekiel 1:4 describes four cherubim (living creatures) which carry the throne of God. Each has four faces (a man, a lion, an ox and an eagle) and four conjoined wings covered with eyes, as well as ox’s feet.

Two wings are stretched upward and two cover their bodies. The “foot” in verse seven seems here to mean the lower part of the leg, including the knee, and this was straight (or upright like a man’s). The “sole” is the “foot” as distinguished from the “leg,” with the leg terminated in a solid calf’s hoof shining as polished brass. This was suitable for a being which was to present a front on each of its four sides (Barnes’ Commentary) These cherubs also had the hands of a man under their wings, which shows that God allowed certain characteristics on the angels that look like man, but not many.

Now how do we know for certain that these creatures are cherubim? Simple, we turn to Ezekiel 10:14, 19-22 where he describes these creatures as such.

Cherubim are considered the elect beings for the purpose of protection. They guard the way to the tree of life in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:24) and the throne of God (Ezekiel 28:14-16). They are are mentioned in Genesis 3:24; Ezekiel 10:12–14, 28:14-16; 1 Kings 6:23–28; and Revelation 4:6-8.

We also know that there were two cherubim in Gen. 3 assigned to protect the way of life (Garden of Eden), and two cherubim cover the throne of God. Lucifer was formerly one of these covering cherubim and was probably one of the highest cherubim in authority (Ezek. 28).

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Seraphim:

Seraphim (singular “Seraph”), mentioned in Isaiah 6:1-7 serve as the caretakers of God’s throne and continuously sing praises: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts. All the earth is filled with His glory.” The name Seraphim means “the burning ones.” Each Seraphim has six wings; two covering their faces, two covering their bodies (“feet”), and two with which they fly.

Seraphims apparently also served as agents of purification for Isaiah as he began his prophetic ministry. One placed a hot coal against Isaiah’s lips with the words, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for” (Isaiah 6:7).

By what we read in Rev. 4:1-8, we can deduce these creatures are Seraphim similar to Isaiah 6.

Round about God’s throne there are 24 seat with 24 elders (Seraphim) clothed in white raiment and a crown of gold on their heads (Rev. 4:4). Their main job is to praise God (Isaiah 6:3). This is further proven in verses 8-11:

“……and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever. The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

Similar to the other types of holy angels, the seraphim are perfectly obedient to God, as well as being particularly focused on worshipping God. It seems most angels spend half their time  praising God, and other time on earth.

Normal (Ordinary) Angels

Normal angels are not described as having two wings – they have none. In fact, there are no angels at all with two wings; that visual perception is a myth.

When angels appear on earth (mostly associated with deliverance of God’s word or a crisis), they nearly always present themselves in the form of a man (or partial glory) as in John 10.

The scriptures in Gen. 18:1-8, leading to Sodom and Gomorrah, proves this point. In fact, we just don’t know when angels are among us, which is why Heb. 13:2 says “be not forgetful to entertain strangers as they may be angels.” Scripture shows none that appeared to man gave idle chit chat or spiritual encouragement. It was always a verbatim message from God, never preaching.

Acts 12:10 shows just such an example, where an angel did exactly what was to be done, then left as quickly as he arrived.

Not many scholars have looked deeply into God’s word to see the basic job description of angels. Matt. 18:10 shows that many angels (plural) take care of us:

“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 which is in heaven.”

This line of thought is further corroborated by Gen. 28:10 – 12, which picture of angels coming down to earth for duty, and others going back to heaven to be refreshed and praise God. Much of this praise is done through music, as many angels have tremendous musical ability (Rev. 5:9, Ezek. 28).

Interestingly, angels don’t   manifest themselves to man unless told to do so by God. Their main responsibility is to defend and help God’s people, and to minister to those who are heirs of salvation. They are, quite simply, God’s servants and have not been offered sonship like humans (Rom. 8:14, Gal. 4:6, Heb. 2:10, I John 3:1-2).

In Psalm 91:1, God’s Church (the secret place of the Most High), we are protected by God, who does so by His ministering spirits. Verse 4 lets us know there are angels who have feathers and wings, as well as ordinary angels who help and protect us from things beyond our control. Most likely, verse 4 speaks of a governmental approach, with the cherubims and seraphims in charge over other lesser ranking angels. this And in verses 7-8, the focus is on the Father, the Creator of the angels.

Some angels also have the tremendously important job of collecting the prayers of the saints (in golden vials) for God Rev. 5:8. This puts quite an onus on the people of God to pray in a meaningful way, rather than short, repetitive and shallow prayers.

How Many Angels Are In Existence?

I have not read a meaningful account anywhere of how many angels serve God and man, but if we dig into scripture, we can get a pretty good idea.Revelation 5:11 states:

“And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands….”

This number, also repeated in Daniel 7:10, means “myriads of myriads in the Greek language. It is 10,000 x 10,000, which equals 100 million. That is not counting the thousands of thousands. These are the angels in heaven only though, as you will remember that Gen. 28:10 pictures angels coming down to earth for duty, and others going back to heaven. So if we assume the other half on the angelic host is earth, we have a minimum of 200 million angels, though in my opinion the overall number is much higher.

The chariots of God (spirit army of angels) in Psalm 68:17 speaks of “twenty thousand, even thousands of angels.” A closer version is “two myriads,” or twice ten thousand (Barnes’ Commentary). The original word is in the dual form. רבתים אלפי שנאן ribbothayim alpey shinan, “two myriads of thousands doubled. This simply means forty thousand. A myriad is 10,000; two myriads, 20,000; these doubled, 40,000. Or thus: 10,000 + 10,000 + 20,000 = 40,000. And “thousands” here reads in the margin, “many thousands.” The Hebrew is, “thousands repeated,” or “multiplied.”The language is designed to denote a very great number.

Are these angels a select group that travel with God, or protect the people of God, as they did with Elijah (II Kings 6:17), when he prayed, and said, “Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see.” The invisible guard of angels that encompass and defend us (Psa. 34:7).

Even Christ said he could ask for, and receive, assistance from this spiritual army if He desired. In Matt. 26:51-54 Christ said He could ask for 12 legions of angels. A  legion is 6000 soldiers in the Roman army which makes this number 12 x 6000 or 72,000 angels.

Fallen Angels

The fallen angels are also innumerable and are described as fallen from their first estate. Led by Satan, who was originally a holy angel, the fallen angels defected, rebelled against God, and became sinful in their nature and work. Of the fallen angels, Satan alone is given particular mention in the Bible. When Satan fell (John 8:44; Luke 10:18), he drew after him one third of the angels.

In Jude 6 we read this: “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation [they had a place where they lived, a habitation, an estate, and they left it], he heath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” Notice! It is the sinning angels who are reserved in those chains under darkness, restrained from light, restrained from truth until the judgment of the great day.

In Hebrews 2:5 we read this: “For unto the angels heath God not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak.” In other words the World Tomorrow, the Kingdom of God, will not be under subjection to angels. The present one is under subjection of fallen angels. These demons, and the devil who is their head, rule this present earth and sway its inhabitants. The Bible everywhere indicates and affirms that very fact.

How did they obtain their dominion? Where did the devil get the power to control and to lead and to rule this world? Satan is the leader of fallen angels, as you will find in a number of places (John 12:31; Matt. 12:26; 25:41; Rev. 12:9). In II Corinthians 4:4 the devil is called “the god of this world.”

In Is. 14:12, the type of the human king of Babylon — lifts to the arch-antitype, Satan. Satan is to be removed and bound after the Messiah’s coming. Ezekiel’s prophecy reveals that he is the former archangel cherub, Lucifer.

“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:12-14). The 15th verse returns to the human king.

Notice, this former archangel (the cherub Lucifer)  had been placed as ruler over the angels that sinned. He had a throne, was put here as King, to administer the government of God.  He had been trained in God’s Government over the universe by having been one of the two cherubim whose wings covered the very throne of God at the Headquarters of the universe.  (Isa. 14:12, Ezek. 28:14, Exodus 25:17-21.)

Eventually Lucifer became vain – He sinned (Ezek. 28:16). He said he would exalt his throne above the stars (angels) of God. It already was exalted above the angels on earth — the angels that sinned with him. Now he was going to exalt it over God’s angels in heaven. He was going to invade God’s heaven, knock God off the throne of the universe, and rule the whole universe!

But it is not about a battle between God and Satan. God is merely allowing Satan a short time to rule on this earth to further His plan. Man has to understand that he cannot do anything without God. Therefore he now suffers catastrophes, wars, starvation, famines, earthquakes, despotic governments and so on.

Demons are the cause, led by Satan the devil. All are guilty and perverted, and will receive punishment for each and every sin committed when finally judged. And demons hate the fact that man’s potential is greater than their own (see Gal. 4:6, Rom. 8:14). They know the world to come will not be for them (Heb. 2:5), as their potential (or reward).

God is mindful of man (Heb 2:6). We are now a little lower than the angels, set over the works of God and subject to death (Heb. 2:7). He gives man the possibility to enter the family of God (I John 3:2, Heb. 2:6-8), with a different body (glorified and immortal) upon living a life of growing and overcoming through God’s law and government.

Notice I Corinthians 15:22: “For as in Adam ALL die, even so in Christ shall ALL be made alive” — the same “ALL” that die in Adam. Why? Simply because Adam was originally made mortal — made of the dust, composed of flesh and blood — of matter, not of spirit. Does this say that because Adam fell all die? No, most certainly not. But, as in Adam all die — that’s speaking of this first (mortal) death, so after that, the resurrection (to immortality).

The wages of sin is not just this first death that people die, the wages of sin is an eternal death. “In Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” — that’s the good, bad, and indifferent — all people — sinners and saved alike. That is not the ultimate penalty of sin! The final penalty of sin is the second death, from which there will never be a resurrection — it is eternal punishment. Death is that punishment, forever — eternally.

We were born from our parents, and so on back to Adam who was created mortal — formed of the dust — composed of flesh and blood. In Adam—as long as we are his children — born of him — we all die this first death. But in Christ, all who are not in the first resurrection will be made alive by another resurrection to mortal life ( Rev. 20:5,12 and 1 Cor. 15:40). This is the second resurrection.

So the angels, though glorious in appearance to the point of causing men to faint in fear, are only servants to God and mankind (heirs to salvation). They do not have the ultimate potential to be born into the family of God. The doctrine of going to heaven and hell contradicts this plain Bible teaching and is nowhere to be found in the scriptures. It is man made fiction and belies the true potential of man – to ultimately be born as immortal sons of God.

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