Angels

Text: Hebrews 1:7, 14

Man has different theories about angels (guardian angels, angels living among us today, the dead become angels, etc.). The Bible says they are “ministering spirits” that do the will of God. But what exactly are angels? And what is the role that God gave to them? This will not be an exhaustive lesson, but an overview of the topic, highlighting what the Bible says about angels.

Origin

  • Angels were created by God (Psalm 148:1-6)
  • When were they created? … in time for them to witness God creating the material world (Job 38:4-7)
  • Angels are immortal & do not reproduce (Luke 20:35-36), and there is no indication that God continued creating angels since He completed creating the physical world (Genesis 2:1-3) – therefore, the angels that He made at the beginning are the same angels that continue to exist

Nature

  • Angels are spiritual beings (Hebrews 1:7, 14)
  • Like the Holy Spirit, they are persons, not some impersonal force – they have movement (Revelation 14:6); they have an appearance, even in the spiritual realm (Revelation 7:11; 10:1-2)
  • They have, at times, taken human form (Genesis 19:1, 12; Mark 16:5-6; Matthew 28:5-6)

Place

  • Angels are lower than God the Father – His servants (Hebrews 1:7, 14); they worship Him (Revelation 7:11-12)
  • Angels are lower than Christ – they worship Him (Revelation 5:11-12); declared to be lower by the Father (Hebrews 1:3-6, 13)
  • Angels are higher than man (Hebrews 2:6-7; 2 Peter 2:11) – though they are fellow servants (Revelation 22:9)
  • Because angels are lower than God, certain things must also be true – they are unworthy of worship (Revelation 22:8-9; Colossians 2:18-19); they are fallible (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6); they are subject to divine judgment (Matthew 25:41); they have limited knowledge (Matthew 24:36), but are interested in God’s will & plan for man (1 Peter 1:10-12)

Role

  • Angels are God’s messengers (Greek: angelos) – verbal, but also physical deliverance & judgment
  • Angels warned of the destruction of Sodom (Genesis 19:1, 12-13)
  • Angels acted as God’s messengers of death (Genesis 19:13; 2 Samuel 24:15-16; Acts 12:23)
  • Angels ordained the Old Law (Galatians 3:19; cf. Acts 7:53; Hebrews 2:2)
  • An angel strengthened Jesus for His work (Matthew 4:11; Luke 22:43)
  • An angel freed Peter (Acts 12:6-11)
  • An angel showed John the revelation (Revelation 1:1)

Today

  • What are angels doing today? … Simple answer – whatever God’s will is (Psalm 103:20)
  • But we must be careful of speculation – remember their role as messengers; God’s message to man has been fully revealed (1 Corinthians 13:8-10; Jude 3; 2 Peter 1:3)
  • Do angels take physical form today? (Hebrews 13:2) – example was not referring to people they knew, but to Abraham (Genesis 18:1-5)
  • Angels have no authority to reveal any new information from above (Galatians 1:8) – even if an angel were to speak to us, if his message was different from the NT, we must reject it
  • NT describes angels as carrying the spirits of the faithful to paradise at death (Luke 16:22) – the dead are accompanied by the angels; they do not become angels themselves

Future

  • Angels will accompany the Lord when He comes in judgment (Matthew 25:31-33) – will help deal out retribution (2 Thessalonians 1:7-8; Matthew 13:49-50)
  • After judgment, they will return to heaven with the faithful to be with the Lord for eternity (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18)

(Portions of this outline are based upon a sermon outline on the same topic by Bryan Dockens.)


When you subscribe, you’ll also receive 3 free PDF’s: Plain Bible Teaching on Blessings, the latest issue of Plain Bible Teaching Quarterly Review, and Thankful.