Angels

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The Hebrew word malac and Greek word, ἄγγελος, signify “messenger.”
1. It is used for the mystic representation of the divine presence, as in Genesis 31:11-1311And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob: And I said, Here am I. 12And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the rams which leap upon the cattle are ringstraked, speckled, and grisled: for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee. 13I am the God of Beth-el, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto me: now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred. (Genesis 31:11‑13). “The angel of God” spake unto Jacob saying, “I am the God of Bethel.” “The angel of Jehovah” spake to Hagar and said, “I will multiply thy seed exceedingly that it shall not be numbered for multitude” (Gen. 16:7-117And the angel of the Lord found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur. 8And he said, Hagar, Sarai's maid, whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai. 9And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands. 10And the angel of the Lord said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude. 11And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the Lord hath heard thy affliction. (Genesis 16:7‑11)). “The angel of Jehovah” spake to Abraham saying, “By myself have I sworn” (Gen. 22:11, 15-1611And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. (Genesis 22:11)
15And the angel of the Lord called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, 16And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: (Genesis 22:15‑16)
). Three “men” drew near to Abraham’s tent. One said Sarah should have a son: at which Sarah laughed, and Jehovah said, “Wherefore did Sarah laugh?” Two of the three left, and were called “angels” at the gate of Sodom, while Jehovah, the third, talked with Abraham (Gen. 18:1-331And the Lord appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; 2And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, 3And said, My Lord, if now I have found favor in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: 4Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: 5And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said. 6And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth. 7And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetcht a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it. 8And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, and they did eat. 9And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent. 10And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him. 11Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. 12Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? 13And the Lord said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? 14Is any thing too hard for the Lord? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. 15Then Sarah denied, saying, I laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh. 16And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way. 17And the Lord said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; 18Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? 19For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him. 20And the Lord said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; 21I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. 22And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the Lord. 23And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? 24Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? 25That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? 26And the Lord said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes. 27And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes: 28Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it. 29And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty's sake. 30And he said unto him, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there. 31And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty's sake. 32And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten's sake. 33And the Lord went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place. (Genesis 18:1‑33); compare also Ex. 3:2, 6-152And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. (Exodus 3:2)
6Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God. 7And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; 8And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 9Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. 10Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt. 11And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? 12And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain. 13And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? 14And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. 15And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations. (Exodus 3:6‑15)
; Num. 22:22-3522And God's anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the Lord stood in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him. 23And the ass saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and the ass turned aside out of the way, and went into the field: and Balaam smote the ass, to turn her into the way. 24But the angel of the Lord stood in a path of the vineyards, a wall being on this side, and a wall on that side. 25And when the ass saw the angel of the Lord, she thrust herself unto the wall, and crushed Balaam's foot against the wall: and he smote her again. 26And the angel of the Lord went further, and stood in a narrow place, where was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left. 27And when the ass saw the angel of the Lord, she fell down under Balaam: and Balaam's anger was kindled, and he smote the ass with a staff. 28And the Lord opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times? 29And Balaam said unto the ass, Because thou hast mocked me: I would there were a sword in mine hand, for now would I kill thee. 30And the ass said unto Balaam, Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? was I ever wont to do so unto thee? And he said, Nay. 31Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face. 32And the angel of the Lord said unto him, Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? behold, I went out to withstand thee, because thy way is perverse before me: 33And the ass saw me, and turned from me these three times: unless she had turned from me, surely now also I had slain thee, and saved her alive. 34And Balaam said unto the angel of the Lord, I have sinned; for I knew not that thou stoodest in the way against me: now therefore, if it displease thee, I will get me back again. 35And the angel of the Lord said unto Balaam, Go with the men: but only the word that I shall speak unto thee, that thou shalt speak. So Balaam went with the princes of Balak. (Numbers 22:22‑35)). Jacob, in blessing the sons of Joseph, said, “The Angel which redeemed me from all evil bless the lads” (Gen. 48:1616The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth. (Genesis 48:16)). It is generally believed that it was the second person in the Trinity who appeared as a man in the Old Testament It is no doubt the same who is called “the mighty angel” in Revelation 10:1-31And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire: 2And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth, 3And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices. (Revelation 10:1‑3).
2. The intelligent spiritual beings who are constantly referred to in scripture as God’s messengers both as carrying good tidings and as executors of God’s judgments. We know little of their nature: “of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire” (Heb. 1:77And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. (Hebrews 1:7)); and man is described as being a little inferior to the angels (Psalm 8:55For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor. (Psalm 8:5); Heb. 2:77Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honor, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: (Hebrews 2:7)). There are apparently gradations in rank among them, described as principalities and powers, of which Christ as Man is now the head (Col. 2:1010And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: (Colossians 2:10)). Twice we meet with “archangel:” an archangel’s voice will accompany the rapture of the church (1 Thess. 4:1616For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: (1 Thessalonians 4:16)); and Michael the “archangel” contended with Satan about the body of Moses (Jude 99Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. (Jude 9)). He with his angels will fight with the dragon and his angels and cast them out of heaven (Rev. 12:7-87And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 8And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. (Revelation 12:7‑8)). Gabriel is the only other name of an angel revealed to us: he appeared to Daniel, to Zacharias, and to Mary; he said that he stood in the presence of God (Dan. 8:1616And I heard a man's voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision. (Daniel 8:16); Dan. 9:2121Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. (Daniel 9:21); Luke 1:19,2619And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to show thee these glad tidings. (Luke 1:19)
26And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, (Luke 1:26)
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Though we are unconscious of the presence of angels we know that they are ministering spirits sent forth to minister for them who shall inherit salvation (Heb. 1:1414Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation? (Hebrews 1:14); compare Psa. 34:77The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. (Psalm 34:7)); and we read also that they ministered to the Lord when He was here (Matt. 4:1111Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him. (Matthew 4:11); Mark 1:1313And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him. (Mark 1:13); Luke 22:4343And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. (Luke 22:43)). There are “myriads” of these angels (Matt. 26:5353Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? (Matthew 26:53); Heb. 12:2222But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, (Hebrews 12:22); Rev. 5:1111And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; (Revelation 5:11)); and they are described as “mighty,” “holy,” “elect” (2 Thess. 1:77And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, (2 Thessalonians 1:7); Mark 8:3838Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. (Mark 8:38); 1 Tim. 5:2121I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality. (1 Timothy 5:21)): they do not marry (Mark 12:2525For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven. (Mark 12:25)). We are not told when they were created, but doubtless they are referred to as “the sons of God” who shouted for joy when God created the earth (Job 38:4-74Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. 5Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? 6Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; 7When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? (Job 38:4‑7)).
The law was given by their ministry (Acts 7:5353Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it. (Acts 7:53); Gal. 3:1919Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. (Galatians 3:19); Psa. 68:1717The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place. (Psalm 68:17)); and they had to do with proclaiming the birth of the Savior (Luke 2:8-148And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (Luke 2:8‑14)); and they attended at the resurrection (Matt. 28:22And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. (Matthew 28:2); John 20:1212And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. (John 20:12)). Angels are not the depositaries of the revelation and counsels of God. They desire to look into the things testified by the Spirit of Christ in the prophets, and now reported by the apostles in the power of the same Spirit (1 Peter 1:1212Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into. (1 Peter 1:12)). The world to come is not to be put in subjection to them, but to man in the person of the Son of man (Heb. 2:5-85For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. 6But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? 7Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honor, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: 8Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. (Hebrews 2:5‑8)); and the saints will judge angels (1 Cor. 6:33Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? (1 Corinthians 6:3)). It is therefore only a false humility that would teach the worshipping of angels (Col. 2:1818Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, (Colossians 2:18)). When John fell down to worship the angel in the Revelation, being overpowered by reason of the stupendous things revealed, he was on two occasions restrained from worshipping his “fellow servant” (Rev. 19:10; 22:910And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. (Revelation 19:10)
9Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God. (Revelation 22:9)
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3. FALLEN ANGELS. 1. We read of angels who “kept not their first estate,” but left their own habitation, and are kept in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day (Jude 66And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. (Jude 6)). God spared not the angels who sinned (2 Peter 2:44For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; (2 Peter 2:4)). The nature of their sin may be referred to in Genesis 6:22That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. (Genesis 6:2). Their punishment and that of Sodom and Gomorrah is held up as a warning against fleshly indulgence, and despising government (2 Peter 2:1010But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. (2 Peter 2:10); Jude 6-8). 2. Besides the above which are kept in chains we read of angels connected with Satan. The great dragon and his angels will be subdued by Michael and his angels, and be cast out of heaven (Rev. 12:99And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (Revelation 12:9)). The lake of fire, or Gehenna, has been specially prepared for the devil and his angels, though, alas, man will also be cast therein (Matt. 25:4141Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: (Matthew 25:41)). Abaddon or Apollyon is the name of the angel of “the bottomless pit” (Rev. 9:1111And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon. (Revelation 9:11)), that is, the “abyss,” not hell, which, as seen above, is the place of punishment. Isaiah 14:12-1612How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. 15Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. 16They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; (Isaiah 14:12‑16) and Ezekiel 28:14-1914Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. 15Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. 16By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. 17Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. 18Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffic; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. 19All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more. (Ezekiel 28:14‑19) may throw some light on the fall of Satan, but whether the fall of those called his “angels” was brought about by the same cause and at the same time is not revealed. Scripture is quite clear that all of them will be overcome and eternally punished.
4. The term “angel” is used metaphorically for a mystical representative. When Peter was delivered from prison, and knocked at the door, those who had been praying for his release said, “It is his angel” (Acts 12:1515And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel. (Acts 12:15)). They supposed Peter was still in prison, and that the one at the door was his representative, his spirit personified, perhaps with very vague ideas of what they really meant. In Revelation 2-3, the addresses to the seven churches are made to the angel of each. It signifies the spirit and character of the assembly personified in its mystical representative, each one differing from the others, according to the state of the assembly. The messages, though addressed to churches existing at the time, no doubt set forth the state of the church in its varied phases ever since apostolic times down to its entire rejection as the responsible witness for Christ at the close of the dispensation.