01 May 2009

Systematic Theology--Lesson 5, angels

There are many things that people believe about angels that are either misconceptions that have been passed along through the years that we simply accept as true—things we have simply been led to believe by culture and by art— especially paintings and movies—things about angels that are just not true. Today we’re going to clear up some of these misconceptions. So let’s go ahead and begin. And these will all be true or false questions. Question #1. TRUE OR FALSE: There are “good” angels and “bad” angels. Absolutely true. We will begin with the Obedient Angels. First The Attributes Of Angels. In other words, their characteristics. All angels were Produced By God. Specifically by God the Son. Colossians 1:15-16He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. We find the phrase “principalities and powers” throughout the New Testament. And it refers to angels. Some other phrases used to talk about angels: host of Heaven, sons of God. All these angels were created by Christ. And all these creations of Christ worship Christ.

Psalm 148:2, 5Praise Him, all His angels; praise Him, all His hosts!...Let them praise the name of YHVH, for He commanded and they were created.
Nehemiah 9:6You alone are YHVH; You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and everything on it, the seas and all that is in them, and You preserve them all. The host of heaven worships You.
Hebrews 1:6But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: “Let all the angels of God worship Him.”

As far as when they were created—many people debate about it—were they created before or after the earth? Most likely before God created the heavens and earth. Job 38:4-7“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” This is God asking Job, “Where were you when the angels shouted for joy as I laid the foundation of the earth?” So they were probably present at the creation. They were produced by God.

They Are Personal Beings.
  • They have Intelligence. Matthew 28:5But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here for HE IS RISEN!”
  • They have Emotion. Luke 15:10“Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” The angels rejoice when we call upon the name of the Lord, and we commit our lives to glorifying their Creator and their Lord—YHVH of Hosts, Lord of Sabaoth.
  • They have a Will. We will be talking about Satan in a little while, and what did Satan say over and over again in Isaiah? They are personal beings.
They Are Powerful Beings. Question #2. TRUE OR FALSE: Angels are babies with wings. ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY—NOT!! It makes for nice, fuzzy-wuzzy paintings that “Oh isn't that cute”—but, eh, not so much. 2nd Kings 19:35And it came to pass on a certain night that the angel of the LORD went out, and killed in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand. Does that sound like something a baby can do? The night Jesus was arrested, Peter cuts off the ear of Malchus, and what does Jesus tell him? Matthew 26:52-53But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels?” Twelve legions—that’s 72,000 angels! With one word, those angels would have slaughtered every soldier in the entire Roman Empire. Like that. I ain't even gonna do the math. Psalm 103:20--Bless the LORD, you His angels, who excel in strength, who do His word, heeding the voice of His word. Those are the attributes of angels.

Next we look at The Activity of Angels. Question #3. TRUE OR FALSE: Angels spend their time sitting on clouds playing harps. False! I don’t know where that one came from, but…no. Question #4: TRUE OR FALSE: There are some angels whose sole purpose is to Praise God. True! Isaiah 6:1-3In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is YHVH of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!” Revelation 5:11-12Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!” These angels are not sitting on a cloud picking a harp—they are filling Heaven with their praise of Almighty God!

Let’s talk about their Provision. Question #5: TRUE OR FALSE: There are angels in this room right now. Absolutely! Hebrews 1:13-14But to which of the angels has He ever said: “Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool?” Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation? Angels minister to us. When we need comfort, God sends them. When we need encouragement, He sends them. Have you ever been feeling blecch, didn’t know why? Then all of a sudden it’s like a cloud lifted. Or you found that whatever it was you had been hunting for so long, and all of a sudden POOF! There it is and you wonder “How did it get there?” It might have been an angel. And do you know sometimes they are sent to encourage us to minister to others? Hebrews 13:2Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. Even Jesus needed angels to strengthen Him. Matthew 4:10-11Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’” Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him. The night before His crucifixion, as He is praying in Gethsemane, Luke 22:41-45and He knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. They offer praise, provision.

They deliver Proclamation. An angel proclaimed the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Luke 1:26-28Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” An angel will also announce when Christ comes to take His church on up to Heaven. 1st Thessalonians 4:16-17For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

Angels are responsible for our Protection. Psalm 34:7The angel of the LORD encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them. Daniel 6:22Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! My God sent His angel and shut the lions' mouths, so that they have not hurt me…” Luke 16:22“So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried.”

A couple more questions about angels before we move on to the “fallen” angels. Question #6: TRUE OR FALSE: When a person dies they become an angel. No, no, no, no, no!!! Someone may say at a funeral, “Oh, he/she is an angel now!” After 9/11 I heard or read someone say “I guess God needed some more angels!” We do not become angels! Angels are angels, and we’re not. Period. Question #7: TRUE OR FALSE: Angels have to “earn” their wings. It’s A Wonderful Life, but it’s bad theology.

Let’s move on and look at Satan. He was The Original Rebel. Satan was an angel. He rebelled against God, taking 1/3 of the angels with him. Revelation 12:3-4behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. This is John’s vision of Satan’s rebellion. What was The Reason For Satan's Rebellion? We’re going to look at his Pride mostly. Ezekiel 28:15-16“You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you. By the abundance of your trading you became filled with violence within, and you sinned; therefore I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God; and I destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the fiery stones.” God is speaking to the king of Tyre (a city on the coast of what is now Syria), but doing it by giving us this parallel between this king and Lucifer. And the most famous passage showing us why Lucifer—Satan, the Devil, etc—why he was cast out of Heaven is in Isaiah 14:12-15“How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will 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.’ Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit.” Again this is God giving us a picture of the fall of Satan by comparing it to a human king. Now Satan, do you think he’s a pretty intelligent being? I would say his IQ is somewhere in the 20,000 range. Remember, the angels were present when God created the universe. And yet he convinced hundreds of thousands of angels to rebel against God.

We now turn to Disobedient Angels. Those angels that sang as God created the universe—they said, “Let’s fight against Him!” It wasn’t that those angels were that stupid—it’s that Satan was that smart! Speaking of those angels who rebelled. Question #5: TRUE OR FALSE: There are angels in this room right now. True! That's pretty good news...but it's also pretty bad news. Question #8: TRUE OR FALSE: We fight against angels every day. First, The Activity of Demons. There are demons in this room right now. Ephesians 6:12For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 2nd Corinthians 11:12-15, Paul wanted to cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast. For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

Ever see those movies where someone is fighting Satan? Let me get this out of the way: No one is going to kill Satan! No one is going to kill the Antichrist! You see these movies, and someone hides in a church so Satan can't get them. Yeah, right! You can walk into any church in the world and Satan will be there. One thing they do is They Promote Satan's Agenda. 2nd Corinthians 4:3-4But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. The god of this age—the god of this world—is Satan. This does not mean that Satan is God. but here’s the thing—if you asked 10,000 people who would not claim to be Christian, ask them if they worship Satan—9,999 of them would say, “Absolutely not!” Yet they do. If you do not worship God—YHVH—then you automatically worship Satan. Mormons. Jehovah's Witnesses. Muslims. Hindus. Whatever “god” is worshipped besides the true God is Satan. Is a demon. These demons promote Satan's agenda.

How do they do that? They Oppose God. 1st Thessalonians 2:18Therefore we wanted to come to you—even I, Paul, time and again—but Satan hindered us. 2nd Corinthians 10:4-5the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. In Daniel, we have an account of a battle between a demon and an angel of God. Daniel 10:12-14Then [the angel] said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand…your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me…Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days. Again, that is part of the job description of being an angel of God—to protect us and to fight for us.

Let me finish up with this. Question #9: TRUE OR FALSE: There will be angels in Hell. Absolutely, 100% YES! There are angels there right now. Not all demons walk the earth. Many angels who fought against God were cast directly into Hell. Jude 1:6the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day. 2nd Peter 2:4God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment. And those demons who do still walk the earth, they know they're going to join them. When Christ cast the demons out of the man who called himself “Legion,” the demons asked Him in Matthew 8:29-31“What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?” Now a good way off from them there was a herd of many swine feeding. So the demons begged Him, saying, “If You cast us out, permit us to go away into the herd of swine.” What will happen in that day? Revelation 20:10-15The devil, who deceived [the nations], was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever…Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged… Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. We know the One who has all authority over demons. The One who commands them to leave, and they must leave. The One who has overcome by His death. 1st John 4:4You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. If someone is saved, then the only influence Satan can have over that person is what they allow Satan to have. Because we’ve got angels that will fight for us. Besides—we know their boss.

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