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Angels


Angels are members of a heavenly order who are superior to man in terms of power and intelligence (Heb. 2:7). Being ministering spirits (Heb. 1:14), they have supernatural power and knowledge (2 Sam. 14:17,20; 2 Pet. 2:11). However, they are neither all-powerful nor all-knowing (Psa. 103:20; 2 Thes. 1:7).

In general, angels are without wings with the exceptions of cherubim, seraphim and the living creatures (Exo. 25:20; Eze. 1:6; Rev. 4:8.).

Angels were created by God (Psalm 148:2,5) before the creation of the world. They were present to rejoice with God when He created the world (Job. 38:4-7).

At their creation, all angels are holy and godly. But before the creation of the world, some of them rebelled against God and lost this holiness and godliness. The leading angel in this cosmic revolt became the devil who was named Satan meaning Adversary - the great opposer or adversary of God and man (Gen. 3:4,14; Eze. 28:12-16; Rev. 12:4,7-9).

The holy angels delight in praising and worshipping the Lord continually (Psa. 103:21; 148:1-2). Large numbers of them remain at God's side, ready to do His every command (1 Kin. 22:19). Angels in God's presence include the cherubim, seraphim, and living creatures (or living beings) (Exo. 25:20; Isa. 6:2; Eze. 1:5-6; Rev. 4:6).

Holy angels are known for their reverence for God and their obedience to do His will. They are God’s representatives in making significant announcements of good news (Gen. 18:9-10; Luke 1:13,30; 2:8-15). On His behalf, they also warn of coming dangers (Gen. 18:16--19:29; Matt. 2:13). In some cases, they are God's agents in executing destruction and judgment of evil (Gen. 19:13; 2 Sam. 24:16).

Though invisible to human beings, angels sometimes appear in visible human form (Gen. 18:2; Dan. 10:18; Zech. 2:1). Their appearance usually inspires awe (Judg. 13:6; Matt. 28:3-4; Luke 24:4).

The Bible accounted angel visitations with godly people like Abraham, Moses, David, Daniel, Jesus, Peter and Paul. They were charged with caring for such people and serving them in times of need (Psa. 91:11-12; Heb. 1:14). They also guided and instructed godly people (Gen. 24:7,40; Exo. 14:19). This task was illustrated by the role the angels played in God's giving of the Law to Moses (Acts 7:38,53; Heb. 2:2). Sometimes their guidance comes through human dreams (Gen. 28:12; 31:11).

Angels also protect the people of God (Exo. 14:19-20; Dan. 3:28; Matt. 26:53). They meet a wide variety of human needs, including relieving hunger and thirst (Gen. 21:17-19; Mark 1:13) and overcoming loneliness and dread (Luke 22:43). They sometimes deliver the people of God from danger (Acts 5:19; 12:6-11).

Although they are not the objects of salvation, angels are interested in the salvation of human beings (Luke 15:10; 1 Cor. 4:9). They were particularly active in the events surrounding the birth and resurrection of Jesus (Matt. 1:20; 2:13,19; 28:2; Luke 1:11-38; 2:9-15; 22:43; 24:23; John 20:12).

We are now living in the days of Revelation where intense spiritual wars are fought every hour. Therefore angelic activities have increased significantly. Where the warfare is intense, you will find the greatest concentration of the army. Jerusalem is the Holy City of God. It is also known for frequent angel sightings, both the good and bad ones. The menacing danger is to worship them instead of God (Rev 22:9).

Jesus spoke frequently of angels, both good and bad (Matt. 13:41; 26:53; Mark 8:38; Luke 12:8-9). Angels are real, and they play a vital part in God's plan for the redemption and restoration of the world.

Below is a brief study of the different types of angels:

Angel Of The Lord

Of special importance in the Old Testament is the Angel of the Lord (Gen. 16:7; 22:11; 31:11). This Angel is sometimes depicted as a visible manifestation of God Himself but at other times as one sent by God. The Lord used this Angel to appear to human beings who otherwise would not be able to see His face and live (Exo. 33:20).

He has powers and characteristics that belong only to God, such as the power to forgive sins (Exo. 23:20-21). His similarities to Jesus lead most Bible scholars to conclude that He is the pre-incarnate Word present with God at the creation of the world (John 1:1,14).

The Angel of the Lord performed actions associated with God such as revelation, deliverance and destruction; but he is also spoken of as distinctly 'different' from God (2 Sam. 24:16; Zech. 1:12).

Archangels

Archangels are holy angels. They are Michael (Dan. 10:13,21; 12:1; Jude 9; Rev. 12:7) and Gabriel (Dan. 8:16; 9:21; Luke 1:19,26). Michael has given the special task of taking care of Israel, while Gabriel communicates special messages to God's servants at strategic times.

Cherubim (Cherub)

The cherubim are winged angelic beings, often associated with worship and praise to the Lord. They were first mentioned in the Bible in Genesis 3:24 when they were placed at the east of the Garden of Eden to prevent Adam and Eve from approaching the Tree of Life.

Lucifer was a cherub (Eze. 28:14, 16) who became Satan when he rebelled against God (Isa. 14:12-14; Eze. 28:12-19).

In the first and tenth chapters of the book of Ezekiel, the "four living creatures" (Eze. 1:5) were the same beings as the cherubim (Ezekiel 10). Each had four faces-- that of a man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle (Eze. 1:10;10:14)-- and each had four wings (Eze. 1:6).

In their appearance, the cherubim "had the likeness of a man" (Eze. 1:5). These cherubim used two of their wings for flying, and the other two for covering their bodies (Eze. 1:6,11,23). Under their wings, the cherubim appeared to have human hands (Eze. 1:8; 10:7-8,21).

The imagery in Revelation 4:6-9 seems to be inspired by the prophecies of Ezekiel. The "four living creatures" described here, as well as the cherubim of Ezekiel, are proclaiming the holiness and power of God. This is one of their main responsibilities throughout the Bible. In addition to singing God's praises, they also serve as a visible reminder of the majesty and glory of God and His abiding presence with His people.

Seraphim (Seraph)

In some ways, the seraphim were similar to the cherubim. Both were winged beings surrounding God on His throne (Isa. 6:2-3).

The seraphim are fiery, burning angelic beings in the Temple of God, when Isaiah was called to his prophetic ministry (Isa. 6:1-7) - this is the one and only Biblical reference of them. Each seraph had six wings. They used two to fly, two to cover their feet, and two to cover their faces (Isa. 6:2). The seraphim flew about the throne of God, singing His praises as they declared His glory and majesty.

These angels apparently also served as agents of purification for Isaiah as he began his prophetic ministry. One placed a hot coal against Isaiah's lips with the words, "Your iniquity is taken away and your sin is purged" (Isa. 6:7).

Fallen Angels

These angels were created by God but they rebelled against Him and were cast out of heaven. The lord or prince of these fallen angels is Satan (Rev. 12:7-9). These fallen angels continue to serve Satan; but their power is limited. Judgment awaits them in the future (Matt. 25:41; Rev. 12:9).

The fallen angels referred to in (2 Peter 2:4) and (Jude 6) are possibly the beings referred to as "sons of God" in (Genesis 6:1-4). There is no distinction between fallen angels and demons.

One of the fallen angels is named Abaddon or Apollyon (Rev. 9:11), "the angel of the bottomless pit [abyss]".

Source:
Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary