Before we begin, let us take care of some of the more theological questions that have come up from time to time concerning the angelic host.
How do you spell angels? ANGLES OR ANGELS? IT IS SPELLED ANGELS. I don’t know how many times I have seen teachers and pastors spell this word incorrectly. It is similar to the word that describes the book of Psalms. Each individual section is a Psalm, not the plural Psalms. Often
I hear pastors asking their congregation to turn to Psalms 15. It is the 15th Psalm in the book of Psalms.
Now, to answer some of the great theological questions of our time:
1. How many angels can rest on the point of a needle? The entire host — stacked on top of one another.
2. Can two angels occupy the same space at the same time? Sure — spirit’s don’t occupy space.
3. How many angels walking side by side can walk through the eye of a needle? None, any angelic being big enough to roll the stone from the grave is to big to fit through the eye of a needle.
That out of the way, we can move on to other things. In relation to the angels, if you accept the Biblical record, you will have ample proof of angels existence. If you don’t, you won’t.
They are mentioned from Job and Genesis to Revelation. They are in 34 books of the Bible. They are mentioned over 300 times in the Scriptures. There seems to be ample evidence of their existence, even though we cannot see them.
“Angel” means messenger.
1. Angels Are Created Beings: Psalm 148:2-5 Verse 5 mentions of angels and the heavens, “…for he commanded, and they were created.” Colossians 1:16, mentions that all things were created by Christ. The creation included principalities and powers of the air. The angelic host and demonic contingent are all within this classification of beings. (see John 1:1-3 also)
It might cross one’s mind as to the method of their creation. Man was created and then woman was created. Did God create the lower angels first, then move on to the Archangels, or begin with the higher and work to the lower. We will not get into which He did when creating man and woman. (Some womens libers suggest that God created man and then corrected his mistake and created woman. Others suggest that when God created, She created woman first and then man. If you reject the Scripture, you can come up with all sorts of false teaching can’t you.)
We might assume since there is no marriage among the angels, and that the angels are masculine, that ALL of the angels were created at the same time. There may have been time intervals between the angels but all at one occasion.
Psalm 148: 2,5 mentions the following concerning their creation. Verse two, “Praise ye him, all his angels; praise ye him, all his hosts.” Verse five, “Let them praise the name of the Lord; for he commanded, and they were created.”
There is some discussion as to when they were created. Refer to the notes on Lucifer for more on this question. Chafer mentions, “According to Scripture, long before the creation of man God created an innumerable company of beings described as angels.” (Taken from the book, Major Bible Themes by Lewis Sperry Chafer and John F. Walvoord. First edition copyright 1926, 1953 by Dallas Theological Seminary. Revised edition copyright 1974 by Dallas Theological Seminary. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. p 151f) Others are just as plain that the creation of angels was at another time.
Ryrie mentions, “The Bible does not undebatably state the time of their creation. They were present when the earth was created (Job 38:7, NIV) so their creation had to be prior to the Creation of the earth.” (Ryrie, Charles C.; “Basic Theology”; Wheaton: Victor Books, 1986, p 124)
2. Angels Are Everlasting, But Not Eternal: They are like man, in that all of us were created beings, not having eternal presence in the past. We began at a point in time. We will, both angels and mankind, continue to exist into eternity future so are everlasting, but only God is eternal (Luke 20:36 mentions that the angels never die). It is good that the Lord defeated the Devil or he would continue as he is for eternity future.
3. Angels Are Spirit Beings: Hebrews 1:13, 14 tells us that they are ministering spirits, yet they do seem to appear in human form at times. Genesis 19:1 mentions the two angels that came to take Lot away from Sodom and Gomorrah. John 20:12 tells of the angels present when Christ arose. It is to be assumed that these appearances are similar to the theophanies of the Old Testament when God appeared to man in the form of men. It is a manifestation of a spirit being as man.
Whether they take on actual physical characteristics or not is not clear in Scripture. There is some indication that they do take on physical form, rather than being an image. The angels that came to Abraham, just before Sodom and Gomorrah partook of food and drink. This would indicate the physical form. Also the same beings performed physical activity with man when attempting to protect and then remove Lot from Sodom (Genesis 18- 19).
4. Angels Are Powerful: 2 Thessalonians 1:7 tells us that Christ will appear with “mighty angels”. This term translated mighty is the term from which we gain our term dynamite. 2 Peter 2:11 tells that some have “power and might”. Psalm 103:20, “Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.”
Later we will consider the thought that they are ministering spirits. They have some relationship to us. We should remember that they are powerful and strong. This will help us relax and trust in the Lord’s protection.
5. They Are Personal Beings: They have the traits of personality.
They Are Intelligent: 1 Peter 1:12 mentions that they “…desire to look into….” certain things which would indicate intelligence.
They Have Emotion: Luke 2:13 tells us that they can praise God which indicates feelings.
They Have A Will: Jude 6 tells us that some fell, thus they have a will with which they can chose. They can reject God’s authority.
They Are Wise: 2 Samuel 14:20 mentions that angels are wise. “…and my lord is wise, according to the wisdom of an angel of God….”
6. They Do Not Marry: This is stated in Mark 12:25, and is indicated in the fact that they are mentioned in the Masculine gender in Scripture (Genesis 18:1-2) However Zechariah 5:9 mentions two women with wind in their wings. You can do a research paper on whether they are angels or not. Send me a copy.
7. They Can Fly: Zechariah 5:9, “…for they had wings like the wings of a stork, and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heaven.” Isaiah 6:2 describes the Seraphim and their six wings ending with the phrase, “…with two he did fly.” Indeed, they fly swiftly according to Daniel 9:21.
It is indicated in Daniel that they use their ability to fly for the purpose of transportation from one point to another. The ability to fly may or may not be a literal flapping of the wings type flight. In their appearance to man, it probably is, yet as spirit beings, they can move from place to place without a source of motivation. Some might suggest that it may be the wings that are described in their physical appearance is merely for man’s understanding — that they really don’t have wings. This is a possibility, yet the descriptions of Isaiah 6, Ezekiel 1, and Revelation 4, of the throne scene seem quite literal.
8. They Are Innumerable: Hebrews 12:22 mentions, “…an innumerable company of angels.” Q. How many is that? Daniel 7:10 mentions 10,000 times 10,000 which would be 100 million. Plus there must be more.
9. They Are Organized: No they don’t have a union. There is a level of “archangels mentioned” which indicates this organization. Jude 9, “Yet Michael, the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses….”
There Seem To Be Other Archangels: Daniel 10:13 mentions Michael as one of the “chief princes”. There seems to be an organizational structure under the archangels from Ephesians 3:10,
“To the intent that now, unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places, might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,”
Gabriel is mentioned and seems to be of a messenger. Luke 1:19 mentions,
“…I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and am sent to speak unto thee, and to show thee these glad tidings.”
This was to Zacharias in the announcement of the coming of John The Baptist. Luke 1:26 tells us “…Gabriel, was sent from God….” to tell Mary of the Lord’s coming. Daniel 8:16 shows Gabriel as one that could explain something to Daniel. Again in Daniel 9:21ff Gabriel is shown as revealing things to Daniel. It could well be that the angel that Michael helped in Daniel 10 was also Gabriel.
Acts 8:26 mentions that an angel directed Phillip to go to the area where he found the Ethiopian Eunuch. Since Gabriel is a directing and message bearing angel this may have been him.
Michael seems to be a warrior for the Lord (Dan 10 and Jude 9).
10. They Rejoice Over The Salvation Of Man: Luke 15:10,
“Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of god over one sinner that repenteth.”
Whether they are happy because God is happy, or whether they are so involved with mankind that they rejoice, is not mentioned in Scripture. Since they are ministering spirits, and they seem very involved with the activities of man, it would seem logical that they are joyful due to their involvement with man.
We are left to wonder at the relationship between angels and mankind in the eternal state. We are told from Scripture that mankind will not have a marital relationship in the eternal state, so we will be in a sense, very similar to the angelic host. We will be spirit beings as they. What the relationship will be will be of great interest.
11. Angels Learn From Man: 1 Corinthians 4:9 indicates that we are examples to them in some way. That is scary if you think about it. Just when are you teaching them something? Are they watching when you step into sin? I assume that they can be watching at any time. This should move us to more righteous living.
12. Angels Are Superior To Man In Some Ways: 2 Samuel 14:20 indicates that their wisdom is greater than man’s. 2 Samuel 24:15,16 shows an angel destroying men quite effectively. (70,000 men) Psalm 8:5,
“For thou hast made him [man] a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor.”
13. Angels Are Inferior To Man In Some Ways: 1 Corinthians 6:3 mentions that man will judge the angels. It is quite possible that this speaks of man judging the fallen angels, for there is no indication in the Word that the unfallen angels have a judgment, nor even a need to be
judged. Ephesians 3:10 tells us that men have knowledge that the angels do not have. It would seem that both classes have their strengths and weaknesses.
14. They Will Accompany Christ At His Coming: Matthew 25:31,
“When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory.” (Mark 8:38 also)
They will accompany Christ, however they do not know the time of that coming. Mark 13:32,
“But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels who are in heaven….”
Since the Devil was discussed at length we can gain much insight into the angels. Everything that is true of Satan’s characteristics — personality — spirit etc. would also be true of the cherubim, indeed all angels.
MINISTRIES OF THE ANGELS
1. They Seem To Guard, Or Minister To Believers: Hebrews 1:14,
“Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth
to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?”
“them who shall be heirs of salvation?” would indicate believers.
Matthew also mentions something that the Lord told them. Matthew 18:10, “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father, who is in heaven.”
2. They Serve Or Watch Over God: Isaiah 6:1-3 shows the throne scene of God. Ezekiel 1 and Revelation 4 also mention this same scene. It is the throne of God and is depicted as being protected by four angelic beings. The beings are described in great detail. Most feel that these beings are cherubium. Just why God needs watching over, is not known. I surmise that it is more of a serving, rather than protecting ministry.
3. They Serve As Guards: Not to guard God, but rather to guard something for God. Genesis 3:22-24 tells that the Lord stationed them at the entrance to the Garden of Eden to bar Adam and Eve from reentering it.
4. They Intercede In Spiritual Battles: In Daniel there is an angel that had appeared to Daniel and mentioned that he had been delayed. Daniel 10:13,
“But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days; but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.”
How many of these battles go on in the spirit world is unknown to us. Since these beings were linked with countries, it is assumed that when any empire rises and falls, that there is a spirit world battle as well.
5. They Ministered To Christ:
Before His Birth: Luke 1:26-33 is the announcement of Christ’s coming birth to Mary.
After His Birth: Luke 2:8-13 is the announcement of the Lord’s birth to the shepherds.
After His Temptation: Matthew 4:11,
“Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.”
They Were Available For His Protection: Matthew 26:53,
“Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?”
Also, the thought is shown in the temptation of the Lord in Matthew 4:6.
Before The Cross: Luke 22:43 mentions that an angel appeared and strengthened him in the garden just before his arrest.
After Being Raised: Matthew 28:2 tells that an angel rolled the stone from the grave entrance.
6. They Minister To Believers: Hebrews 1:14,
“Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?”
Acts 12:7 tells of Peter’s release from prison via an angel. Acts 17:23-24 shows that they ministered in time of trouble for Paul. They are involved in ministering to saints after their death. Luke 16:22 mentions that the beggar Lazarus was carried away by angels. Jude nine mentions that Michael was involved with the body of Moses after Moses died.
7. They Minister To The Nations: Daniel 12:1 mentions Michael as one that stands for Israel. Revelation is quite specific in the fact that the angels are involved in the closing out of the end time activities.
8. They Minister To The Unbelievers: If you can call it ministry. Herod was struck by worms, Acts 12:23,
“And immediately an angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory; and he was eaten of worms, and died.”
1 Chronicles 21:15 is the account of the angel destroying people due to the sin of David.
This shows a real down side to the angelic host, where man is involved. God deals with man via the angels, and it is not pleasant. The angels are involved in the separation of righteous and unrighteous in the judgment.
I am reminded of Michelangelo’s painting that depicts the angels escorting the lost to their judgment. The terror pictured on the lost men is indication that the painter knew well the horribleness of God’s judgment.
9. They Minister To God:
Worship: Hebrews 1:6, “…And let all the angels of God worship him.” Revelation 5:8-13 pictures the living creatures and the 24 elders Worshiping.
Praise: Psalm 148:2, “Praise ye him, all his angels; praise ye him, all his hosts.” (Also Isaiah 6:3) Can you imagine a praise service in heaven? Must be quite a scene.
Rejoice: Job. 38:7,
“When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”
Serve: Psalm 103:20,
“Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word.”
This seems to be a class of beings that enjoy serving their God. It is curious that others of the same class chose not to serve God. Why did the demons desire to rebel. It must have been linked to the pride of the Devil and their overall desire to be out from under God’s dominion. It is similar in man. There are believers that desire to serve Him, and believers the desire to be rid of Him.
SOME LOGICAL CONCLUSIONS CONCERNING ANGELS
1. They can operate outside the laws of nature. This is due to the fact that they are spirit, not physical beings.
2. They were created with free choice as is demonstrated by Satan and those angels that fell with him.
3. There is no salvation provided for the angelic host. This is demonstrated in that the fallen angels in the pit are to be preserved till the end. Jude six
4. Matthew 25:31 mentions the “holy angels”, which might lead one to conclude that the unfallen angels have been in some way confirmed in their good nature. Be this an act of their own will, or more to the logical end, an act of the Lord.
1 Timothy 5:21, “I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels….” This term elect has puzzled some for years. There are two answers that fit.
a. The angels that did not chose to follow Lucifer were confirmed or elected to be retained as good angels for the Lord’s service.
b. There were some that were elect before any angels fell. The non- elect fell and the elect remained in the Lord’s service.
Either position would fit, but don’t ask for a verse for either.
5. Since they have no mater, they would be immutable [unchangeable], save the fact that some fell.
6. They are all ultimately subject to God, even Lucifer and the fallen angels.
1. The angels are an important class of beings to us, even though we do not realize their presence. They are involved in the rising and falling of nations. They are involved in our own safety evidently.
2. A text that I have not mentioned that is of interest to us is Hebrews 13:1,2,
“Let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers; for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”
This text indicates some items that we need to consider. First of all, the angels are active now in the church age. Secondly, angels may appear as normal people. And finally, the Lord may be allowing us, from time to time, to have contact with these heavenly beings.
Many years ago we had the habit of stopping to help people having trouble on the road. We still do at times if it seems safe. One night very late we were returning from Colorado Springs and the snow was heavy plus plus. It was a very wet, driving snow and almost big drops of rain. A night when no sane person would be out.
We happened onto an old jalopy of a pickup with the hood raised. I stopped and walked back to find an old bearded scuzzy looking guy that should have been in the mountains panning gold, sitting on the radiator with a foot on each side of the engine with a book of paper matches trying to fix his truck. The matches would not stay lit and he was having a terrible time. I went back to our car for a flashlight and some tools and fixed the truck for him. As I was working, he kept saying over and over how much he appreciated me stopping and that he didn’t even think of anyone stopping to help him. He was really shocked that anyone would stop.
As I got back into my car fairly well soaked, this passage came across my mind. Who knows? I have no idea. The situation was so very out of the ordinary that I had to wonder. The man was so nice, and friendly that I felt that he could have been more than just an old man in trouble.
3. We have assumed something in this study. We have assumed that there is one class of being and that general class is angels. We assume also that there are no other beings.
There are cherubim, seraphim, angels and then there is Lucifer. Are they all the same beings with varying offices or are they slightly different types of beings created for the Lord’s purposes?
I feel that our study would apply equally well if either were true. It seems that they are all angelic beings with some differences. Their qualities and characteristics would be similar.
I personally feel that there may be different classes of angels. There would be the typical angel, then the archangels, and the cherubim. Again, don’t ask for a verse, however the logic of what we know of the angels would indicate classes rather than just offices or levels.
4. There seems to be a lack of real study on the subject of the angels in the practical aspect. Much detail is to be had in the specifics of the angels, but the practical application is limited. This is partially due to the fact that the angels are operating in another sphere, and the Scriptures are silent as to what goes on when they operate in our sphere.
Example: Why do they come so that we can minister to them as Hebrews mentions? Is this for the purpose of testing us? Is it a learning experience for the angel? Some very good questions for a research paper. (As usual, send me a copy.)
 Stanley L. Derickson Ph.D. B.A. (n.d.). DERICKSON’S NOTES ON THEOLOGY: A STUDY BOOK IN THEOLOGY.