Bible Study # 2:
A SHORT STUDY ON ANGELS:
There are many misconceptions about angels and their role and involvement in our lives. Following is a short study on this subject:
Angelic names: Michael, Gabriel and Apollyon (Abaddon in Hebrew) are the only angels mentioned by name in the Bible. Michael is an extremely powerful archangel. He is one of the chief angelic princes and the protector of the Israeli nation. Gabriel is a messenger angel and Apollyon is the angel of the Abyss and generally believed to be a fallen angel.
There is one more angel who is repeatedly mentioned in the Old Testament, and that is the Angel of the Lord. He is not mentioned by name, but God said that His Name is in this angel. It is also recorded that He is able to take on human form when appearing to some people. He is a warrior, a protector, a messenger and a redeemer. He describes Himself as holy, and the Bible teaches us that He often delivered messages in the first person; He identifies Himself with God. The Angel of the Lord is also known, in His incarnate form, as Jesus, the Christ - Son of the Living God.
Biblical description of (some) of the heavenly beings (according to rank):
- Seraphim (Seraphs): Seraphs are of a very high order of celestial beings. The prophet Isaiah describes them as creatures who stand above the throne of God. They each have six wings; two with which to cover their faces, two to fly with and two to cover their feet. All we really know about them is that they glorify God.
- Cherubim: Cherubim are magnificent and terrifying creatures. Some cherubim have been appointed to guard the way to the tree of life. We know from the description of the carved cherubim of the ark of the covenant that they have wings.
Four other cherubim accompany the Glory of the Lord when He travels. According to King David, the Lord mounts the cherubim and then they fly and soar through heaven. The prophet Ezekiel describes these cherubim as having the general shape of a man, with four wings and four faces each. Each one has the face of a man, a lion, an ox and an eagle. They have hands like a man and feet like a calf. Beside each of these cherubim is a wheel within another wheel, and there is fire inside each wheel. These wheels are full of eyes, and they move with the cherubim.
- Archangels: Although Michael is the only archangel mentioned in the Bible, there must be others since Michael is referred to as 'one of the chief princes'. He is also the great warrior prince who commands the many angels who fight under him.
- Angels: Angels are mighty celestial beings who look like humans. Although the Bible does not describe angels in detail, it is quite possible that some of them may have wings and long hair not unlike the fallen angels described in the Book of Revelations.
Angels can take on human form. The Bible mentions in Heb 13:2 that some people have entertained angels without even knowing it. You can also read further accounts of angels appearing in human form in Genesis 18 and 19. When they have taken on human form they are able to eat, touch, walk, talk, etc., as well as perform supernatural acts (as in the case of the angels striking the men in Sodom with blindness when they tried to force their way into Lot's house).
God sends angels across our way to protect, guide, and sometimes even test us, but we are usually not even aware of their presence. You will also find many accounts in the Bible of people seeing angels in the spiritual realm, or in dreams or visions.
In need of an angel? Only God can command the angels - they are not at our bid and call. Whenever God deems it necessary, He will instruct and send His angels to assist us (Ps 91:11).
What about personal guardian angels? So many people are under the false impression that one or more angels have been permanently assigned to each of us. This is not scripturally true. The only scriptural evidence for personal guardian angels applies to children and not to adults (Mt 18:10).
I personally pray and ask God to send me an angel whenever I am in need of their protection (usually when I am aware of being under demonic attack). Remember, God is all-knowing. He is always aware of our exact circumstances and will give the angels the correct instructions for any given situation. He knows which and how many angels to send to minister to us.
Worhipping of angels: People have been worshipping angels for thousands of years, but God absolutely forbids this practice. Angels are not gods, and they have limited powers and limited knowledge. God alone is to be worshipped (Re 19:9-10).
Other interesting (scriptural) facts about angels:
- God's law was put into effect/delivered/ordained by angels (Acts 7:53; Gal 3:19);
- messages delivered by angels are binding (Heb 2:2);
- the coming world (the New Jerusalem) will be subject to us and not to the angels (Heb 2:5);
- we will one day judge the (fallen) angels (1 Cor 6:3); and
- by observing God's Church on Earth the rulers and authorities (angels) in the spiritual realm can learn much about God's wisdom. Isn't that amazing - the angels are watching us, and God is revealing more of Himself to them through us (Eph. 3:10).