Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Let's do a short study on Angels.

The word angel comes from the Greek word aggelos (pronounced angelos) and means "messenger." In the Bible this is the form used in almost every mention of angels except one─in Luke 20:36 (KJV) where the phrase reads "equal unto the angels," or the Greek word isaggelos, which means "like an angel" or "angelic."

Angels are beings that are created as "intermediate" beings between God and man. They are created beings by God, making them lower, but Psalm 8:5 states that man was made a little lower than the angels.

There are more than three hundred references to angels in the Bible. They play an important role and are seen in some of the most famous Bible stories, including the Christmas story.

An angel is neither a god nor a human. Angels are spirits, as Hebrews 1:14 says:"[they are] ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation." As such they come to our aid and offer help where they can to make our lives better. They are spiritual beings that remain invisible.

The first mention of angels in the Bible is where Adam and Eve left the Garden after the fall. They are banished from Eden, and Eden is protected by cherubim, angels that are depicted elsewhere as winged bulls or lions with human heads.

Cherubim are symbolic attendants to places of the Lord's "enthronement" on earth in the Old Testament. They guard the Garden of Eden and the ark of the covenant.

Angels have three important responsibilities: to attend God's holy throne, to protect people, and to serve as messengers carrying special news or tidings. They are worshipful beings that serve God by carrying out His wishes through these three main roles.

Guardian angels are spoken of throughout the Bible. Abraham spoke of God sending His angel before His servant Elias as the steward went to seek out a wife for Abraham's son Isaac. Psalm 91:11-12 also speaks of watchful angels:

For he will command his angels concerning you
To guard you in all your ways;
They will lift you up in their hands,
So that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

As messengers the angels communicate God's will to us. They serve as rescuers (such as when Lot was saved from Sodom); as bearers of great tidings (to Mary concerning the birth of Jesus); to instruct prophets (Daniel was given detailed directions from "the man Gabriel"). Angels are mediators who pass along messages God has for his people.

Jacob's vision depicts the angels as being lined up on an immense ladder that stretches between the earth and the heavens (Gen 28:12-15). God looks down and sees us and watches as the angels bring their messages from Him.

The apostle Paul tells us four of the orders of angels in his letter to the Ephesians: "above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion"(KJV). He also writes to the Colossians concerning angels: "whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers.

Only two personal names for angels are given in the Bible: Michael and Gabriel. Other angels with personal names are given in the Apocrypha, such as Uriel and Jeremiel.

Gabriel makes appearances in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. He interprets Daniel's visions in the Book of Daniel and also announces the births of John and Jesus to their respective parents.

Michael is an archangel and a warrior in the angelic realm. He is the protector of Israel, according to several references in the Book of Daniel and one in the Book of Revelation. The Book of Jude also says that he disputed satan for the body of Moses.

Fallen angels are angels who have rebelled against God and lost their standing in heaven (also in the Book of Jude) They have not been cast into hell, and they are under God's power, but they take orders from satan (Rev. 12:7)

Satan is perhaps the most famous angel of all time. He is a fallen angel, one who was cast out of heaven after rebelling against God. Paul speaks of how satan "masquerades as an agel of light" (2 Cor. 11:14). In reality satan is "the prince of darkness."

A final battle between the good angels and the fallen angels is prophesied in Revelation 12:7-9.

Christians will see angels on the last day. Matthew 24:31 states that God will "send His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other." Angels will escort believers into heaven and the holy throne!

by Bonnie Calhoun