* * *
The AMC was founded to promote
sound doctrine and practice in Messianic circles and in the greater body
of Messiah. We therefore consider the study of Scripture and the
faithfulness of our doctrinal statement to Scripture to be of exceeding
importance. This study is the sixth in a series that examines why we
believe as we do. It is our hope that you will seriously consider these
studies and allow the Lord to show you if, in fact, they are faithful to
His Word, as did the Berean Jews of Acts 17:11.
Here is our statement on the holy
AMC STATEMENT ON ANGELS
This study will demonstrate
biblical support for the existence of angels, describe their nature,
support the claims in our statement, and lay the foundation for our next
study, "Satan and Demons."
THE EXISTENCE OF ANGELS
"Angels are mentioned in Scripture 273 times, in 33 of the 66 books" (Fruchtenbaum, Dr. Arnold G. Radio Manuscript # 73: Angelology: The Doctrine of the Elect Angels. P. 5. San Antonio: Ariel Ministries Press). I might add that they are mentioned in every type of Bible book. They are mentioned in:
The Hebrew Scriptures, in:
The New Testament, in:
It is obvious that the writers of Scripture take the existence of angels for granted, as does the Son of Man, Himself. Speaking of Himself, He said,
What Angels Are Not
Angels are not emanations from God, neither are they the present state of the deceased, nor are they fat little babies with wings. The Bible gives no credence to these imaginary ideas. Neither does the Bible ever present angels as imaginary or symbolic beings. What, then, are angels?
Angels Are Created Beings
All three members of the Tri-unity cooperated in the creation of all things; but Colossians 1:16 focuses on Christ as Creator of all things, including, "invisible" things, namely, "thrones or dominions or principalities or powers," which are rankings of angels:
When Were They Created?
God chides Job,
Verse 7 tells us that "the morning stars," "the sons of God," that is, angels, rejoiced as God created and established the physical universe. It is clear, then, that God created the angels before He created the physical universe. And inasmuch as the Scriptures say nothing about the creation of angels at any other time, and that Messiah did say that angels are incapable of reproduction (Mark 12:25), it is fair to conclude that they were all created at the same time before the creation of the heavens and the earth.
Angels Are Spirit Beings
There are three classes of beings that either are spirit, or have spirits. God is a Spirit, people have spirits, and angels are spirits. That angels are spirit beings is clearly stated in Hebrews 1:14:
Angels Are Persons
The attributes of personality are intellect, emotions and will.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit
are each divine Spirit and possess the attributes of personality. They are
Persons. People have spirits and possess the attributes of personality.
People are persons. Angels are spirits and possess the attributes
of personality. Angels are persons, also.
ANGELS HAVE SPIRIT BODIES
As we have seen in Hebrews 1:14, angels "are...spirits;" and yet the Scriptures present them as having bodies. This is difficult for us to comprehend because the only kinds of bodies we are familiar with are material bodies; but even among material bodies there are vastly different kinds. There are bodies of flesh, blood and bone, but there are also jellyfish bodies; and let's not forget that after the resurrection, we, ourselves, will have vastly different kinds bodies than we have now, immortal bodies suited for life in the heavenlies (1 Corinthians 15:50). So God can be quite versatile in the creation of bodies.
What Kinds of Bodies Do Angels Have?
Angels do not have bodies of flesh and bones; for it was in His glorified state that Jesus declared,
Since their bodies are not material bodies, even glorified material bodies, and since the Bible does not say that they have spirits, but are spirits, it seems logical to designate their bodies as spirit bodies.
Attributes of Angelic Spirit Bodies:
Angels are Male
Angels are always spoken of in the masculine gender. "The Greek does have a neuter form, but does not use the neuter form for angels; it always uses the masculine noun and the masculine pronoun" (Fruchtenbaum, Dr. Arnold G. Radio Manuscript # 73: Angelology: The Doctrine of the Elect Angels. San Antonio: Ariel Ministries Press. P. 11). It is also noteworthy that whenever they do appear in human form, they appear as young men.
Three Kinds of Angelic Bodies
There are three classes or ranks or orders of angels. In ascending order, there are those that are simply called angels, and then there are the seraphim (plural of seraph) and the cherubim (plural of cherub). The angels have the appearance of young men. The seraphim and cherubim appear human in certain of their features, and have the appearance of certain kosher (ceremonially clean) or regal animals in other of their features. In addition, the angels have no wings, the seraphim have three pairs, and the cherubim have one pair.
Angelic Bodies Do Not Have Earthly Space Constrictions
In Luke 8:30, an entire legion of fallen angels had entered into the Gadarene:
Angels are immortal: They are incapable of dying. In Luke 20:36, Jesus said,
Angels are exceedingly powerful. In 2 Chronicles 32:21, a single angel destroyed the entire Assyrian army.
Holiness, in this case meaning sinlessness in nature and action, is an attribute that applies only to those angels who did not follow Lucifer in his rebellion against God and have consequently retained their unblemished holiness ever since. In Luke 9:26, Jesus said,
The angelic rebellion will
be covered in our next study.
THE SERVICE OF HOLY ANGELS
All of the holy angels are unflagging servants of God and of the saved of all ages. Hebrews 1:14:
Within that broad cover of being servants of God and the saved of all ages, each of the angelic orders has its own areas of holy service. We'll look at each order, beginning with the highest, and touch on the highlights of its realms of service.
Cherubim are intimately associated with the Shechinah, the glorious, visible manifestation of the presence of God, as in Ezekiel 1:26-28; 9:3 and 10:1-22. In Ezekiel 10:1, we see the throne of God, burning with glory, hovering above the cherubim:
We can see this association, as well, in the multiple representations and associations of the cherubim in the Solomonic Temple (Exodus 25:18-22; 26:1; 37:7-9; 1 Kings 6:23-28; 1 Kings 7:29, 36; 1 Kings 8:6-7; 1 Chronicles 28:18; 2 Chronicles 3:7; Ezekiel 9:3; 10:1-22) and Millennial Temple (Ezekiel 41:18-20).
Cherubim are also employed by God in matters of guardianship. For example, cherubim were assigned to guard the entrance to the Garden of Eden after the expulsion of Adam and Eve. Genesis 3:24:
This type of guardianship differs from the guardianship of those angels whom we call guardian angels. The Edenic guardianship was over a place. The guardianship of guardian angels is over individual people or groups of people, as we will see.
From this passage, we see that the seraphim hover above God's throne and worship Him. We also see that they are involved in the sanctification of those whom God calls. In Revelation 5:8-10, 14, we see them worshiping the Lamb. In Revelation 6:1-7 and chapters 15 and 16, we see them announcing and carrying out God's bowl judgments during the Great Tribulation.
As has been noted, one of the
three orders of angels is designated simply as angels. The
hosts, or armies, of God, are angels, and Michael the
archangel is their commander (Revelation 12:7). In Daniel 10:13-21, we see
that Michael has special oversight over the nation of Israel. The angel
Gabriel was God's messenger of revelation (Daniel 8:15-27; 9:20-27; Lu.
1:11-20; 26-38). So we see that members of this class of angels serve in a
military capacity, and at least one served and may yet serve (Revelation
14:6) as a messenger. It is likely, as well, that the guardian angels, are
of this class of angel.
Guardian angels is not a term found in the Bible, but the Bible does note that some angels are assigned guardianships over individuals and certain groups of people.
In What Rank Are Guardian Angels?
We've seen that cherubim and seraphim are primarily engaged in the worship and holiness of God. We've also seen that Michael, who is in the lower rank of angels, has a guardianship over Israel. It therefore seems more than likely that the guardian angels are among the lower rank of angels.
Guardian Angels Over Believers
Angels are assigned guardianships over believers. Psalm 34:7:
This scripture definitely applied to Old Testament saints. Whether or not it applies to church saints is addressed below.
Though Satan quoted Psalm 91:11-12 in his temptation of Jesus (Matthew 4:6), the passage applies to all "who dwell in the secret place of the most high" (v. 1). Psalm 91:11-12:
In view of the fact that the righteous have guardian angels, Albert Barnes concludes:
Guardian Angels Over Children
In Matthew 18:10, Jesus said,
Judging from Psalm 34:7 and Psalm 91:11-12, and by the fact that Jesus said, "Take heed! Watch out!" we need to conclude that these angels are guardians; and as it is obvious that babies are alive within the womb (Luke 1:41), it is fair to conclude that each child is assigned a guardian angel at the moment of conception.
Guardian Angels Over Churches
In Revelation 2:1 - 3:14,
John was commissioned to write a letter to the angel over each of the
seven churches of Asia. The Greek word for "angel," angelos, means
messenger. Angelos has been translated that way a number of times
in the New Testament in clear reference to human messengers (Matthew
11:10, Mark 1:2, Luke 7:27, Philippians 2:25); but it is also used
frequently in clear reference to heavenly angels (e.g., Acts 5:19).
As concerns the angels to the seven churches, the question arises as to
whether angelos should be translated as a celestial "angel," or as
a human "messenger." I've seen good arguments for both positions, but I
lean toward the former for these reasons:
THE ANGEL OF JEHOVAH
This angel is never called an angel of the LORD, but always the Angel of the LORD (YHVH). He is a special, unique angel.
The Angel of Jehovah Is Jehovah God
Exodus 3:2, 4:
The Angel of Jehovah in verse 2 is clearly identical with Jehovah and God in verse 4.
Dr. Fruchtenbaum writes,
The Angel Is the Second Person of the Trinity
We'll prove this by relating passages from Exodus 3 and 4 and Numbers 22-24 with 1 Corinthians 10:1-4:
First, Exodus 3 and 4: In 3:2, He spoke to Moses from the burning bush; in 3:8, He told him, "I am coming down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, to bring them up out of that land, to a good land;" in 3:10, "I will send you to Pharaoh;" in 3:12, "I will be with you;" in 3:16, " I have surely visited you and have seen what is done to you in Egypt;" in 3:20, "I will stretch out My hand and smite Egypt with all My wonders;" in 3:21, "I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians;" in 4:3-7, He gave Moses the sign of His authority in the rod turned into a snake and then back into a rod, and in the hand turned leprous and then healed; in 4:9, He instructed Moses as to his part in the plague of blood; in 4:12, "I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say;" in 4:15, He instructed Moses to tell Aaron what to say to Pharaoh, and that He would be with both of their mouths and would teach Moses what to do. In 14:18-19, He led Israel in the pillar of fire, and then moved between Israel and the pursuing Egyptian army. Also, in Numbers 22-24, the Angel caused Balaam to bless Israel prior to Israel's entry into Canaan instead of cursing them, as was his intent.
It is obvious that this Angel is God - but which Person?
Now, 1 Corinthians 10:1-4:
The "spiritual Rock that followed them" was the Angel so intimately involved in their Exodus and wilderness wanderings; "and that Rock was Christ."
The Angel of the LORD Appeared as a Man
As did the other angels who appeared on earth, whenever the Angel of the LORD appeared on earth, He had the appearance of a man, as can be seen in Judges 13:3-11, in which Samson's parents thought that the Angel was a man.
What Was This Angel's Ministry?
In examining the passages in which the Angel of the LORD appeared, the overall picture is that He orchestrated Israel's history, and orchestrated history for Israel. It must be remembered that it was the Son of God who appeared as the Angel of the LORD, and that it was this same Son who would one day climax Israel's history at the cross. In Genesis 16, the Angel promised that Ishmael would live and that "his hand would be against his brother" (Isaac's descendents through Jacob). In Genesis 18, Abraham pled with Him on behalf of Sodom, but in Genesis 19, He dispatched His two companion angels to destroy Sodom, whose extreme wickedness would no doubt have eventually defiled Israel. In Genesis 22:1, the Angel tested Abraham's faith and then stayed his hand from slaying Isaac. In Genesis 24:7 and 40, Abraham promised Eliezer the Angel's protection as he embarked to find a wife for Isaac. In Genesis 31:11-12, He affirmed to Jacob that it was He who blessed Jacob with the striped and spotted cattle of Laban's herds, thereby blessing him with wealth before his return to his land. In Genesis 32:24, Jacob prevailed over the Angel and won His blessing. In Genesis 48:16, we see that it was the Angel who redeemed Israel (Jacob) from all evil. In Exodus 3 and 4, we saw that it was the Angel who protected, provided for, and guided Israel into Canaan. In Joshua 5:14, the Angel strengthened Joshua with the knowledge of His presence before Joshua's attack on Jericho. In Judges 2, the Angel rebuked Israel for not driving out all of the Canaanites.
For Israel under Moses, and even from Abraham to Moses, as we've seen, it could surely be said...
Some doubt or deny that angels minister on behalf of Christians today. The chief reason that is given, it seems, is that we don't need the ministry of angels because we have the Holy Spirit. But the apostles had the Holy Spirit also, and yet, angels ministered on their behalf. In Acts 5:19, an angel got the apostles out of prison; in Acts 8:26, an angel directed Philip to go to Gaza - and this Philip was not an apostle; in Acts 12:7-11, an angel got Peter out of prison; in Acts 27:21-26, an angel told Paul that he must stand before Caesar and gave him counsel for his storm-tossed shipmates; in Revelation 1:1, an angel brings the Revelation from Jesus to John. The argument that saints do not receive ministry from angels because they have the Spirit simply does not stand. Even Jesus, in His glorified, ascended state, is said to have His own angel (Revelation 1:1).
But did Peter, Paul and John receive ministry from angels solely because of the critical nature of their apostolic calls? I doubt it. Philip received the ministry of an angel, and his call was less critical than those of the apostles, being evangelistic, not apostolic. On the other hand, even Jesus, in His glorified, ascended state, employed the service of an angel, and He is Deity. He did not need an angel, yet He employed His own personal angel in ministry to John. Again, I must emphasize, they were all filled with the Spirit - and Jesus' filling is eternally "without measure" (John 3:34).
Consider, as well, the testimonies of Psalm 91:11 and Hebrews 1:14 as quoted above and speak of angelic ministry to the saints in terms unbounded by time limitations. I am persuaded that we need to answer Hebrews 1:14 in the affirmative as applicable even today:
Indeed, Hebrews 1:14 was written in the present tense during the Church Age. This makes it unequivocal. There is no doubt about it: Angels do minister on our behalf today.
Psalm 34:7 says,
That statement was made under the
Law of Moses; but is it true today?
Has a specific group of angels
been charged with general oversight over a specific group of people, or
have individual angels been assigned oversight over individual people or
The Disciples Thought that Peter Had His Own Angel
"Many [disciples] who had gathered to pray" (Acts 12:12) thought that Peter, whom they thought was in jail and now knocked at their door, was his angel. Acts 12:15:
Individual Angels Are Assigned to Individual Nations
The archangel Michael was assigned by God to be Israel's guardian (Daniel 12:1); and Daniel 10:13 and 20 tell us that Persia and Greece had their own specific angelic rulers. The angels over Persia and Greece were demons, but were overseers over individual nations, nevertheless.
The close disciples of the
apostles believed that the one who stood at the door was Peter's own
angel, Jesus stated that children have their own angels, individual
nations have their own angels, and each of the seven churches of Asia had
its own angel. I must therefore conclude that all children, church saints,
churches and nations have their own individual
It is instructive to see that the same Angel who guarded Israel from the Egyptian army and brought them into Canaan cursed the Israeli city of Meroz for not assisting Israel in the day of battle (Judges 5:3). The guardianship of angels, then, does not contradict the liberty to sin that God has given, nor does it prevent the elements of the curse from having its effects, nor does it prevent trials, injustices, persecutions, divine chastisements, reaping the bad fruit of bad seed that we sow, and the like. All of these things are either caused or permitted by God.
In explanation of Psalm 34:7 and Psalm 91:11, Dr Fruchtenbaum writes,
It is plain that God has a specific purpose for everyone He has called. Consider, for example, that Esther was placed in Persia "for such a time as this" (Esther 4:14), and that each believer is endowed with spiritual gifts specifically chosen by the Holy Spirit for that individual (1 Corinthians 12:11). The purpose of angelic guardianships, then, is to allow only those things into our lives that will mold us, direct us and propel us according to God's good pleasure and purpose in and through our lives.
One caution. It may be tempting to some to worship or pray to angels, knowing that they guard us, our children, our brothers and sisters in the Lord and our churches, and, if we are Israelis, our nation; but we are warned not to do it.
In Revelation 19:10, John sought to worship the angel of Revelation 1:1, who brought him the Revelation:
And again, in Revelation 22:8-9:
In Colossians 2:18, Paul speaks disdainfully of those who worship angels:
In the above verses, we are warned to not worship angels; but neither are we to pray to them.
To whom are we to pray? In Matthew 6:9, Jesus taught His disciples to pray, "Our Father...." No, we are not even to pray to Jesus, and certainly not to angels. We are to pray only to One: "Our Father, who is in Heaven."
So be it.
Angels do minister on behalf of believers today, but so does the Holy Spirit. In view of this double celestial ministry toward us, the question arises, "How do the ministries of the angels and the Holy Spirit coordinate?" To come up with specifics, it would seem helpful to consider these points and carry out the suggested project:
Perhaps this would be a study for you to carry out. Let me know what you come up with. :)
* * * * *