Angels – Ministering Spirits
Angels – Ministering Spirits

Angels – Ministering Spirits

Jacob and his mother Rebekah managed to receive blessings of the firstborn for him from his father Isaac but fear of Esau forced him to flee to Haran to Rebekah’s brother Laban. In Genesis 28:12, while on the way Jacob stayed at Luz, the place he later named as Bethel – ‘House of God’ for he saw a ladder reaching in to heaven with  the angels ascending and descending. The book of Job also describes angels coming “to present themselves before the Lord”. Many people claim to have been comforted by an angel in times of great distress. Are angels real and should we expect their help when in trouble?

        Science and faith in angels – The question invariably asked is, in today’s era of great scientific developments should we believe in the existence of angels and their influence in the working of God’s kingdom? God has given knowledge and wisdom to human beings to work out various mysteries of the world. But that does not imply that He has abdicated His dominion over His creation – God is and will always remain Supreme over His creation.

        “In the beginning God created heavens and the earth” – we do not know how much time passed, if any, as covered by the word “and” in the process of creation (Genesis 1:1). The real reason for “darkness and loss of form and emptiness” of the earth is also not revealed in the Holy Bible, for this is about mankind, their fall, redemption and final restoration with God. Lord Jesus taught the Samaritan woman on the well “God is a Spirit” (John 4:24) and since god is in heaven, those dwelling there would be spirits. Further, every created thing/being is an expression of God’s love and is a reflection of His Divine glory.

       What/who are angels? – Hebrew word ‘malak’ in Old Testament and Greek word ‘aggelos’ in the New Testament are both translated as angel. The two words actually mean ‘dispatch as a deputy, messenger, ambassador and to bring good tidings’. From the meaning the two words could be used for a man/woman also who is assigned specific duties related to this. In Scripture the word is used as ‘angel of the LORD’ meaning messenger, ambassador or a deputy of God. Angels are empowered spirits acting as God’s ministers who dwell in His presence to obey Him and are filled with the radiant ever flowing Light of His Divine presence. They travel with lightening speed on rapid wings to execute God’s will, convey His messages to His chosen people and also execute judgement and punishment on those who expressly violate His will.

        Who is Satan? – Angels were created with specific traits as per their perceived and assigned roles and the covering cherubs are the closest to God, as seen by Prophet Isaiah and others (Isaiah 6:1-4). About Satan it is written in the  Scripture “You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.  You were in Eden, the garden of God; …You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones.  You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you….You were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendour. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings (Ezekiel 28:12-17).

      God does not force His will on anyone in the creation and one third of the angels rebelled with Satan against God. The Scripture reveal some details of Satan’s attempt to ascend into heaven to “exalt my throne above the stars of God;
I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north;
 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:12-14). After his attempt to be like God failed, Satan and one third of the angels, who had rebelled against God were expelled from heaven and thrown down to the ground.Angels in heaven serve and worship God while the fallen angels serve Satan in opposition to the Almighty. God is in control over both groups of angels, like everything else in creation (Job 1:12).

        Types of angels – Basically there are only two types – those in obedience to God and that in rebellion and follow Satan. The rebel group along with their leader, the devil, were thrown out of heaven. Satan has been referred to as “the morning star” (Isaiah 14:12), a star that precedes the dawn and probably as a covering cherub announced the presence of God. Lord Jesus is also referred to with the same name (Revelation 22:16) and Hebrew word ‘helel’ translated as “morning star, shining one or light bearer” is used. Satan probably perceived himself equal to the Son of God and aspired to occupy His throne during the rebellion and was thrown to the earth to be in complete darkness while the earth was “void and without form”. This was to show him and the others who rebelled with him that there is no inherent light within them and their beauty comes from the Creator – Lord Jesus and God The Father. Lord Jesus as Son reveals God to humanity but also brings the Kingdom of God into our hearts and thus is the True Morning Star.

         The fallen angels are of two types – those bound in the abyss – 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6; Revelation 9:11-14; 11:7. The second are still lose on the earth till the day of judgement when they will also be bound and consigned to hell fire – Ephesians 6:10-17 and Revelation 12:7-12 and the basic reason of their present binding is as per genesis 6:1-4.

          Types of angels as per their duties – The traits and strength provided to the angels by God is as per the specific tasks that they are supposed to carry out:

·         Sing, praise and worship God in heaven and other places specifically chosen by God – Psalm 103:20; Luke 2:13; Revelation5:11

·         Carry answers to prayers –Daniel 9:21-23; 10:12-13; Acts 10

·         Give revelation -2 Kings 1:15; Matthew 1;20-24;2:13; Daniel 8;19

·         Guard saints and locations – Tree of life – Genesis 3;24; Revelation21;12; Psalm 34:7; 91:11; Acts 12;7-10; guard abyss – Revelation9:11 & 20:1-3

·         Wage war and execute judgements – 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; Revelations 12:7-9; 2 Samuel 24;2; Matthew 13:41-42; Acts 12:23 and Book of Revelation

·         Help and strengthen individuals – Matthew 18:10;, 4:11; Luke 22;43; Elijah 1 Kings 19:5-8

·         Separate good and bad – reaping of harvest – Matthew 13:39-41

·         Receive departed spirits – Luke 16:22

·         bind Satan – Revelation 20

          Are angels assigned to each individual? – Angels are termed as ‘ministering spirits’ for heirs of salvation and all believers are heirs through faith in Lord Jesus (Hebrews 1:14). Mankind is crowned by God with glory and honour but they are made a ‘little lower than the angels’ (Psalm 8:5). On the other hand Scripture also specifies that “the angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him” and that angels hold the believers in their hands to protect them (Psalm 34:7 and 91:11). The verse in Epistle to the Hebrews is grossly misinterpreted through aligning it with the other verses. Greek words “dia tos mellontas kleronomein soterrian” actually mean to “serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation” thus implying that everything angels do anywhere is for the good of believers. The angels do not serve mankind but serve for the sake of them at the express command of God.

           God works out all things for the good of those who love God and angels ensure and execute this task (Romans 8:28). We derive power and strength from God The Holy Spirit and not from any of the created beings – who in any case are there to serve God (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-8) and guides us away from sinful living (Romans 8:12-13). Angels are sent by God in answer to our prayers during difficult circumstances, as per need and not through some standard format. The Saviour was ministered to by the angels in the wilderness after temptation (Mark 1:13; Matthew 4:11);  and in Gethsemane park after His prayers (Luke 22:43). Lord Jesus prayed to the Father in heaven and the mighty angel who stands in God’s presence, occupying the position from which Satan fell, came to the side of Christ.

The angel came not to take the cup from Christ’s hand, but –

·         To strengthen Him to drink it, with the assurance of the Father’s love.

·          He came to give power to the divine-human suppliant.

  • He pointed Him to the open heavens, telling Him of the souls that would be saved as a result of His sufferings.
  • He assured Him that His Father is greater and more powerful than Satan.
  • That His death would result in the utter discomfiture of Satan, and that the kingdom of this world would be given to the saints of the Most High.
  • He told Him that He would see of the travail of His soul, and be satisfied, for He would see a multitude of the human race saved, eternally saved.

     Angels sent by God in answer to prayers – On Sabbath day Mary Magdalene and other women moved towards the tomb with spices to anoint the Lord and prayed – who will roll away the stone from the tomb? (Mark 16:3). To announce the resurrection of the Lord and help the women in answer to their prayers, “an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled away the stone from the door and sat on it. His countenance was like lightening, and his clothing as white as snow” (Matthew 28:2-3). Apostle Peter was imprisoned by Herod “to please the Jews” and the group of believers in Jerusalem offered earnest prayers before the LORD for his release. In answer, an angel visited Apostle Peter in the jail, woke him up ‘while lying between two guards, chained to them’, and led him out after the chains were made to ‘fall off’. Apostle Peter thought it to be a vision but was led past the two set of guards and had gone down one street, the angel departed from him (Acts 12; 3-10). Apostle Paul assured all on board the ship to Rome were assured of their personal safety despite the likely ship wreck after an angel visited him (Acts 27:23-24).

       Should we seek angels help? – I would rather ask God, our Father and my Saviour Messiah who love me and are well aware of my situation for I am a child of God through faith in His Son (John 1:12). In faith God is our Father and Lord of the universe has become our elder brother for we are citizens of the kingdom of God (Romans8:16-17 & 29). Which father who has the required resources at his disposal would let any harm come to his children? What God the Father and His Son can do for all those who seek Him and His help, thousands of created beings, even angels cannot do. Family of the Lord of lords and King of kings is not only highly protected but also highly blessed.

       Apostle John was given a conducted tour of heaven and made privy to various events that are scheduled in the future right up to the day of judgement and he attempted to worship the angel who was his tour guide. The angel stopped him from doing that with the revelatory word that angels are “fellow servants” and believers are called upon to serve and worship only the LORD God (Revelation19:10 & 22:8-9). Angels are powerful and gifted with extra ordinary strength and gifts but they are also created beings, like us. Lord Jesus reprimanded Satan with the Word, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve” (Luke 4:8). God is merciful and I would seek His help rather than seeking an angel for God may have a better way to take me out of my situation.

         Angels have been created and are controlled by God and we as children can depend on their help but this happens only on instructions of God. They are not at our beck and call. We must seek God and pray to Him for help when in trouble and not to some angel for God controls them.

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