What the Bible Teaches



Chapter 480

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Topic 5:   Cautions about Angels

   Jesus said that in the last days there would be a great turning away from the Church and toward the occult, i.e., witchcraft and sorcery, and "doctrines of demons." (1 Timothy 4:1) This began in earnest in the 1960's and has become a flood since about 1994. Especially since 1996 a substantial portion of prime-time adventure shows are based on occult themes such as vampires, "UFO" aliens (which, in the real world are actually demonic apparitions), psychics, witches, and demonic appearances.

   John warned that not all spirits are from God. Mohammed, founder of Islam, claimed that he was given the Koran by the angel Gabriel. However, he himself wondered if, in fact, the angel was an evil angel. Joseph Smith Jr., founder of Mormonism, claimed that at age 15 he was visited by an angel who told him that all Christian denominations had completely distorted the teachings of the Bible.

   Since the mid-1990's there has been a huge increase in the number of reports of "angels." Although some reports involve activities typical of God's angels in the Bible, most reports involve decidedly non-biblical activities, such as providing new "revelations" that contradict the Bible.

   Contrary to modern portrayals in the media, etc., there are no biblical reports of angels with female appearance.

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Topic 10:   The Nature and Position of Angels

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POINT 5:   Biblical use of the term "angel."

   The English word "angel" comes from the Greek word angelos, meaning "messenger."

   The term "angel" has several distinct meanings in the Bible:

   The Angel of the Lord (sometimes not capitalized) refers exclusively to the Messiah, i.e., Jesus, before His permanent incarnation. The Angel of the Lord did not appear after the birth of Jesus.

   An angel and an angel (never capitalized) of the Lord refer to beings which are supernatural, ministering spirits that serve God.

   The King James Version always distinguishes between the Angel of the Lord and an angel of the Lord. However, some other translations do not always maintain this distinction accurately.

      1 Kings 19:5b, 7 [5] ... All at once an angel touched him and said, "Get up and eat." [7] The angel of the LORD came back a second time and touched him and said, "Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you."

   "Angels" can also refer to those angels who rebelled:

      Revelation 12:7-9 [7] And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. [8] But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. [9] The great dragon was hurled down -- that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

      2 Peter 2:4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment

   The book of Revelation contains seven letters where Christ instructs John to direct the letter "To the angel [Greek: angelos] of the church at ...." Many scholars believe that a more accurate translation is "To the messenger of the church at ...", meaning, in essence "To the church secretary of the church at ...."

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POINT 10:   Angels are created beings -- created by, through, and unto the Son of God.

      Colossians 1:16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.

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POINT 20:   Angels are greater than man in power and might.

      2 Peter 2:11 yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not bring slanderous accusations against such beings in the presence of the Lord.

      Psalms 8:4-5 [4] what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? [5] You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.

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POINT 30:   Angels are mighty -- and have great power.

      2 Thessalonians 1:7 and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels.

      Acts 5:19 But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out.

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POINT 40:   Angels neither marry nor die.

      Matthew 22:30 At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.

      Luke 20:35-36 [35] But those who are considered worthy of taking part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, [36] and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God's children, since they are children of the resurrection.

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POINT 50:   Angels have great knowledge, but they are not omniscient.

      Mark 13:32 No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

      Ephesians 3:10-11 [10] His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, [11] according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.

      1 Peter 1:12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.

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POINT 60:   It is not proper to worship angels.

      Revelation 22:8-9 [8] I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. [9] But he said to me, "Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers the prophets and of all who keep the words of this book. Worship God!"

   Here is a clear and broad line of distinction between Jesus and the angels.

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POINT 70:   There are ranks or orders of angels.

      Jude 1:9 But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!"

      1 Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

      1 Peter 3:22 who has gone into heaven and is at God's right hand -- with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.

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POINT 75:   All ranks of angels are subject to Jesus Christ.

   See Jude 1:9 and 1 Peter 3:22 in the preceding point.

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POINT 80:   All the angels of God are bidden to worship Jesus the Son of God.

      Hebrews 1:6 And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, "Let all God's angels worship him."

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POINT 90:   The angels are glorious beings.

      Luke 9:26 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

      Matthew 28:2-3 [2] There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. [3] His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow.

      Revelation 10:1 Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars.

      Daniel 10:6 His body was like chrysolite, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude.

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POINT 100:   Some of the angels sinned, and God cast them down to hell and committed them to pits of darkness, to be reserved for judgment.

      2 Peter 2:4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment;

   It has been suggested that they were the earlier inhabitants of the earth, and that the earth became "without form and void" (Genesis 1:2) as a judgment upon their sins, just as, after it was reorganized for man's abode, it was cursed because of man's fall.

      Isaiah 34:10-11 [10] It will not be quenched night and day; its smoke will rise forever. From generation to generation it will lie desolate; no one will ever pass through it again. [11] The desert owl and screech owl will possess it; the great owl and the raven will nest there. God will stretch out over Edom the measuring line of chaos and the plumb line of desolation.

   Here we read the land was made "waste" because of sin, and the line of "confusion" (same Hebrew as "without form") and plummet of "emptiness" (same Hebrew as "void") stretched over it.

      Jeremiah 4:23-27 [23] I looked at the earth, and it was formless and empty; and at the heavens, and their light was gone. [24] I looked at the mountains, and they were quaking; all the hills were swaying. [25] I looked, and there were no people; every bird in the sky had flown away. [26] I looked, and the fruitful land was a desert; all its towns lay in ruins before the LORD, before his fierce anger. [27] This is what the LORD says: "The whole land will be ruined, though I will not destroy it completely.

      Isaiah 45:18 For this is what the LORD says -- he who created the heavens, he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth, he founded it; he did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited -- he says: "I am the LORD, and there is no other.

   In this last verse we are told God did not create the earth a "waste." (Same Hebrew word as that translated "without form" in Genesis 1:2) It seems clear, then, that it must have become so by someone's sin before man's creation. Genesis 1:2 should then be translated, "And the earth became without form, and void" (or "waste and void"). The first verse of the chapter would then describe the creation; the second verse, the desolation visited upon the earth because of the sin of pre-Adamite inhabitants; the latter part of verse 2 and following verses, the rehabilitation of the earth to be a habitation for the new Adamite race.

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POINT 110:   Angels shall be judged by believers.

      1 Corinthians 6:3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!

   This may refer only to the angels who fell.

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POINT 120:   Angels have sometimes been seen by men.

      Luke 2:9, 13 [9] An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. [13] Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

      John 20:12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus' body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

      Genesis 32:1-2 [1] Jacob also went on his way, and the angels of God met him. [2] When Jacob saw them, he said, "This is the camp of God!" So he named that place Mahanaim.

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POINT 130:   Angels eat.

      Psalms 78:25 Men ate the bread of angels; he sent them all the food they could eat.

   But see the Revised Version -- "Man did eat the bread of the mighty: He sent them meat to the full.

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Topic 20:   The Number of Angels

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POINT 10:   There are innumerable hosts of angels -- literally myriads of angels.

      Hebrews 12:22 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly,

      2 Kings 6:17 And Elisha prayed, "O LORD, open his eyes so he may see." Then the LORD opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

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Topic 30:   The Dwelling Place of Angels

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POINT 10:   At the present time, God's angels dwell in heaven.

      Matthew 22:30 At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.

      Ephesians 3:10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms,

      John 1:51 He then added, "I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."

      Luke 2:13, 15 [13] Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ... [15] When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

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